Swimming is one of the most commonplace forms of moderate exercise available along with running and cycling. They all offer great benefits to your lifestyle should you commit to doing them 3 or more times a week. Here are five of the many reasons why you should get yourself to the local swimming pool as soon as possible:
1. Full Body Workout – Unlike gym training, swimming is an overall body workout that works practically every muscle group in your body. It tones your arms and legs as well as working your shoulders, your back and your abs. Not only this, but swimming is a cardio-intensive form of exercise, so it will improve your overall fitness and stamina.
2. Low risk of injury – Due to the buoyancy of water, swimming is easy on your joints and bones. Road running can add strain to your joints – especially your knees – so being able to swim regularly means you can still get your cardio exercise fix without increasing the risk of injury. So you can swim every day without pushing your body too far.
3. Speed up your metabolism – Like any cardio exercise you burn calories when swimming, but not only this, your body has to work harder to fuel the muscles you’ve been using (and with swimming that’s almost all of them!). Your body’s metabolism speeds up which means you’ll be burning more calories even after your workout, and even while you sleep. So maybe you only swim for 30 minutes, but your body will work for a hours afterwards, meaning you will burn more than the estimated 500 calories per hour.
4. Affordable – Unlike an expensive gym membership, you can pay-as-you-go at many swimming pools, so you can go regularly without worrying about it being too expensive. Not only this, but you don’t need much in the means of expensive equipment either. A quality bike could cost upwards of £1,000, whereas you can pick up a pair of goggles and a swimsuit (and maybe a swimming hat) for a few dollars.
5. You won’t ‘bulk up’ – Those trying to gain body mass might not see it as an advantage, but many people want to keep fit and get lean without becoming the next body building champion. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for burning fat and toning your muscles. Too much resistance training can put strain on muscles and reduce flexibility, whereas swimming requires a range of movements and ensures your muscles stay nice and flexible.
Check out this female body building contest contestant number two doesn’t look very happy at being placed second.
6. It’s not exclusive – Swimming is available to all. You can sign up your new born child to swimming classes from as young as three months, and you can swim for as long as your physically able to exercise, or even after that. Those with injuries that prevent them from running, cycling or going to the gym may still be able to swim thanks to the buoyancy of the water as it reduces the stress that gravity would otherwise create.
7. A healthy body and mind – the health benefits of swimming are vast. Due to the aerobic nature of swimming, the most important muscle in the body gets a proper work out every time you’re in the pool. The exercise helps improve the efficiency of the heart, meaning it pumps more effectively (not to mention the increase in size and strength). With the reduction in body fat that comes with swimming regularly helps reduce the risk of diabetes as well as improving levels of cholesterol.
Then there is the benefits to the mind to consider too. Swimming (like many exercises) releases our ‘feel-good’ chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals reduce our stress levels and make us feel more upbeat and content. Not only this, but the rhythmical breathing patterns combined with the regular muscle relaxation/contraction needed when swimming makes swimming a calming experience.
So that’s it, there’s nothing left to other than grab your swimsuit, get down to your local swimming pool and start racking up some lengths. Fancy a challenge? See how many lengths you can do in one visit, and increase it by one extra length every few times you visit.