Swimming is an activity that brings many benefits. If you are on the path to becoming fit and all-around healthy, you should consider adding swimming to your routine. Not only is it an efficient work-out, it is also fun and relaxing. Let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to add swimming to your fitness schedule.
1. You Burn Calories
Compared to some other forms of exercise, the calories burned from swimming laps are significant enough to result in visible weight loss. While all exercise burns calories, swimming is a more intensive form of exercise, so you get more done in the same amount of time you would have spent during a different form of exercise.
A study from the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation shows that women who did laps in the pool at least three times a week burnt calories at a rate that resulted in visible weight loss, including belly fat and excess fat around the hips. This means that swimming is a fun and effective way to lose weight.
Keep in mind that a weight loss journey is a combination of a healthy diet and exercise, so combine swimming with smart food choices.
2. Exercising of Joints and Muscles
As you age, you may discover that you aren’t as flexible as before, your joints hurt, and your muscles have become stiff. This may be due to several factors such as injuries, nutritional deficiencies such as a lack of calcium or vitamin D, or lack of regular body movement. Swimming is one of the best exercises to help work your joints and muscles back into better form. You should, however, consult a doctor once you recognise these discomforts as, in some cases, it may be indicative of underlying health problems.
Once your doctor has done a medical analysis, you can then incorporate swimming as one of the methods to rectify these issues. The repeated action of moving your arms and legs gently massages the joints. This movement also works your back and neck muscles, which may be sore and stiff as well.
You need to make sure that you don’t overexert yourself while exercising in the pool—you may end up pulling a muscle if you don’t carefully move in the water or properly warm up beforehand. If you aren’t sure how to properly do the strokes and kicks, you can hire a trainer to initially guide you until you are confident enough to go at it alone.
3. You Breathe
If you were to pay attention to how you are currently breathing, you might realise that you are breathing shallowly. This is the subconscious method of breathing, which involves partly taking in oxygen, filling up the chest, and breathing out in short intervals. Shallow breathing may occur when you are stressed, overwhelmed, or busy.
This subconscious method of breathing, however, doesn’t benefit your health. Not only do you hold tension and stress in your body as a result, your lungs don’t get to exercise their full capacity. Prolonged period of the lungs not exercising their elasticity may lead to poor breathing capacity.
When you swim, practice holding your breath underwater for as long as you can, and come up for air in intervals. This means that you are taking in as much air as you can into your lungs, thereby exercising them.
Seeing that the point of swimming is for fitness, you have to be mindful about the breathing exercises. There are different exercises that you can implement, like timing your breathing after every four or five strokes that you do as you lap. You should also do breathing warm-up exercises before you dive in so that you prepare your lungs for the fitness session.
4. Lowered Blood Pressure
If you are prone to high blood pressure levels, swimming is an exercise that you need to incorporate into your fitness routine. As you swim, your heart pumps faster and becomes stronger. This action facilitates efficient circulation of the blood throughout your body. Furthermore, the increased intake of oxygen reduces any numbness and tingling that you may experience when your blood pressure is too high. Not only will you exercise your heart when you swim, you reduce the risk of stroke as a result of constant high blood pressure.
If you are on any medication for high blood pressure, make sure to continue unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Swimming is not meant to replace any medication. It is only an exercise that is part of a holistic healthcare routine.
5. Low Impact Exercise
The beauty of swimming as a part of the routine is that it is low impact. This means that if you have any pre-existing conditions such as a heart condition, post-surgery complications, or chronic pain, swimming won’t add any damage. It is one of the exercises that are recommended to facilitate the healing of physical ailments. However, you should still consult your doctor before you begin taking laps in the pool. Once you are given the go-ahead, enjoy gentle swimming work outs.
6. Relaxing Exercise
Swimming is one of the most relaxing exercises. After a hot or stressful day, being in cool water may relax your body. This relaxing effect of swimming may also alleviate stress and fatigue that you may have been holding in your body.
Swimming is a great exercise to include in your fitness routine. If your aim is to lose weight, swimming laps is a great and efficient way to burn large amounts of calories. You also can learn to practice intentional breathing, which is beneficial for your lungs and improve your breathing over time. Swimming also promotes improved cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart. The increase in efficient of your heart pumping of blood throughout your body can also result in lowered blood pressure. You also get to exercise your joints and muscles, which may get stiffer as you age. The beauty of it all is that as you exercise, you get to relax in a pool.