No matter your fitness level, swimming has the ability to open your eyes (ideally with goggles intact!) to a whole new realm of healthy living. It has the potential to give your muscles a makeover, to skyrocket your cardio, and to shape your body. It is a highly recommended workout that when given the chance, everyone should sprinkle into their workout regimen. Below are the top six reasons why!
Burn, calorie burn
Swimming is one of the best ways to burn calories. Doing casual lengths in the pool for just 30 minutes can burn over 200 calories. Because water is so much denser than air, each kick, push and pull is equivalent to a mini resistance workout for your entire body. These movements trigger your core, arms, hips, shoulders and glutes. So in addition to blasting calories as you swim, you also build lean muscle and ignite your metabolism.
If you struggle with injuries or joint pain, or want to prevent any future problems to your body – swimming is the answer. This occurs because you are only bearing roughly 10% of your bodyweight due to the water’s buoyancy. The resistance of the water still challenges your body to work hard, while simultaneously reducing the impact on your joints. Studies have given swimming and water workouts a gracious nod for people with arthritis or other musculoskeletal problem. Exercising in warm water relieves joint stiffness, pain and increases flexibility throughout your body.
The art of a smooth and effortless swimmer is unlike any other form of exercise. The tranquility of the water with minimal noise and distractions as your ears are under water, is a form of relaxation that not many other workouts, if any, can provide. Frequently hitting the pool has proven to significantly decrease both anxiety and depression, as well as improving sleep patterns. And regardless of your skill level – feeling the mental benefits of swimming take only a light swim, no lanes required!
Swimming triggers all muscles in the body. Everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms and quads. All of this without having to pick up a weight or grudgingly using the word ‘squats’. Rather than needing a plan to workout specific muscle groups, all four main strokes work together to strengthen your entire body; freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breast stroke.
If you despise the dirty dumbells and the sweaty aspect of the gym – the pool may be your calling. Being submerged in water for the duration of your workout, the feeling of sweat rolling down your lower back is a non-issue. When your swimming becomes more high tempo, you won’t even know that you are beginning to sweat. The water is constantly refreshing, showering you down and cooling you off.
If training for a marathon, or anything with a heavy workout schedule – you will not find a better cross training method than swimming. Serving as an ideal form of active recovery for runners, swimming lengths allows you to continually increase your endurance and oxygen capacity, while giving your fatigued legs a break from all that pavement pounding. What’s more, is that swimming introduces a new range of motion and strengthens muscle groups that are often neglected, helping runners and other athletes avoid classic injuries of overtraining and overcompensation.
Take the plunge
Swimming is the most ideal workout for your physical endurance, energy levels, and over all state of mind. It is safe to say that you will climb out of any pool a lot happier than when you dove in. It is a sport that lengthens and stretches your body – something that your body probably doesn’t get enough of. And if you are not quite comfortable with swimming lengths, there are many exercises in the water that will still give you the biggest bang for your buck. Water aerobics classes, bicycle abs while hanging on to the edge, walking with ankle weights on, kicking with a flutter board – are all exercises that will still give you these ample benefits listed above.