Health Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is A Great Exercise
Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is the quintessential workout. Its culmination of weight training and aerobics makes it a total-body exercise. In fact, because swimming pairs muscle building with aerobic exercise, it’s perhaps the best workout there is, especially if you’re someone whose joints can’t handle land workouts. But the benefits of swimming don’t stop at fitness. The depth of the health benefits of swimming is practically immeasurable. Not only can swimming and other types of water exercise burn more fat and build more muscle than other workouts; they can also improve flexibility and bone strength. Recent studies have even shown that swimming can improve the effects of asthma. And, besides all that, swimming and water workouts just plain make you feel good. There’s no other workout around that can actually keep you cool while you’re doing it!
Swimming is Lots of Fun!
Swimming for exercise
Ø When it comes to workouts, everybody seems to be looking for the total-body experience. Well, swimming is just that. As a matter of fact, if you hear people talking about the ‘total-body workout,’ chances are good that whatever workout they’re talking about doesn’t come close to swimming. It’s been proven that workouts that are performed in water burn up to three times as many calories as land workouts simply because water creates more resistance than air. Because of the resistance water creates for your body, as your muscles work against it, they’re being toned with every single workout you perform. Add to that the aerobic effects of swimming, and you’ve got a workout that gets your ‘total’ body in shape.
Ø If you're someone who enjoys your land workouts such as walking, jogging, or working out in the gym, you may be surprised to learn that swimming can be the ideal means of cross-training with those other exercises. For your next workout, go for a swim that includes either aquatic aerobics or just plain swimming laps. Laps are a great way to cross train from one workout to another because they work the entire body. If you can’t swim, try walking, jogging, or even running in the pool. You'll find you're using muscles you don't typically use in your usual workout, and that will help your training efforts, no matter your first workout choice.
Ø Swimming is a low-intensity workout that actually has the power to refresh you while you’re doing it. Water is an exhilarating experience, whether you’re drinking it or splashing around in it. Because water makes you feel nearly weightless, your workouts are easier to do, allowing your body to perform better and obtain better results.
Swimming for Overall Health
Ø The buoyancy of water not only is easy on the joints, but it also helps to relieve joint pain or even eliminate it altogether. In fact, many orthopedic doctors and physical therapists use some form of a water workout for their patients who are experiencing joint and bone ailments. For those who are recovering from joint surgeries, a workout in the water is ideal.
Ø A swimming workout that occurs in a pool that is heated between 82 and 88 degrees can help to soothe pain because heated water is a known pain reducer. However, if you have to perform your low-intensity swimming workout in cooler water, don't fret about it, because even workouts done in cooler water tend to be easier on the joints and more effective than those performed on land.
Ø Everybody knows it… moving in water is nothing like moving on land. When you exercise on land, your body is getting the totality of pressure… and boy are you feeling it. But when you exercise in water, your body feels practically weightless. Submerge yourself in water to your waist, and you’ve lightened your body’s load by nearly half. Sink down further to your chest, and you’ve reduced its burden by about another 30 percent. And when you’re neck deep in water, your body’s only carrying about 10 percent of its usual load, with the water supporting 90 percent of you. Nothing else has the positive effect on your body quite like submerging it in life-giving, healing water. For those whose joints are healthy, water can help keep them that way. For those who have stiff or achy joints, or perhaps even have a medical condition such as arthritis, water can be extremely therapeutic. This is why many orthopedic healthcare providers include water exercises in their patients’ therapy regimens. Note: If you are experiencing joint issues, seek medical attention, and never begin a workout program before doing so.
Ø Recent medical studies suggest that swimming not only can help to ward off medical conditions that involve respiration, but they actually may be able to improve such conditions as breathing allergies and even asthma. Because swimming is performed in air that is moist (as opposed to many land workouts that may be done in dry air), the development of asthma (as well as attacks for those who already have asthma) may be avoided. Patients may even see an improvement in their asthma. This was evidenced in a recent study that showed that children with asthma noted improvements of the severity of their asthma symptoms. Many even saw fewer visits to the hospital due to asthma attacks. Additionally, because swimming increases lung capacity and aids in proper breathing techniques, swimming can be equally beneficial to people who don’t have asthma.
Ø Swimming increases both bone and muscle strength and it does it all without adding the pressure that other workouts can to bones, joints, and muscles. Swimming also builds and tones muscle throughout your entire body and it does it even more effectively than other workouts such as jogging, running, aerobics, and even brisk walking. The reason for this is that swimming requires all-over muscles, whereas those other workouts only use certain muscles or muscle groups. As you swim, though you’re gliding nearly weightlessly through the water, your large muscle groups are actually working to push you through the water’s resistance, making swimming the ideal exercise to not only burn fat and build muscle, but to do it more productively. Reaching and exceeding each goal and milestone comes more quickly than with other workouts. Swimming has also been shown to increase bone strength, especially for women who are entering menopausal years. And it’s much easier on joints and bones than any other workout. It can even relieve joint pain for those who have arthritis, especially if it’s done in a heated pool. Plus, bonus, when you’re swimming, you don’t feel the burn the way you do with those other workouts either. It’s a win-win that just can’t be beat!
Swimming for Well-Being
Everyone who’s ever spent any amount of time swimming knows that the cool water gliding over your body just plain makes you feel good. It’s both a relaxing and rejuvenating experience all at the same time. But did you know that there is scientific, medical evidence that swimming is good for your psyche? It’s true. Swimming actually has been shown to aid in the release of the feel-good chemical called endogenous morphine, otherwise known as endorphins. Endorphins are produced by the pituitary gland and the central nervous system which, suggestive of their name, are a kind of morphine-like substance that originates from within the human body. Endorphins act to inhibit pain signals, and they may even produce a euphoric-like feeling that promotes comfort.
Negative Aspects of Swimming
Truthfully, it isn’t easy to find anything negative about swimming. The benefits, especially when you’re talking about the health benefits, far outweigh any negative information you could ever find about swimming. In most cases, the only down side to swimming depends on where you swim. If you’re someone who likes to swim in a natural body of water such as an ocean, lake, or river, bacteria can be a problem. For example, bacteria or fungus in these bodies of water can lead to swimmer’s ear, an infection of the outer ear canal that can cause itchiness, redness, pain, and even hearing loss in its most severe stages. Be sure to clean out your ears properly after every time you go into the water. Conversely, if you’re someone who prefers swimming in a pool, chlorination can cause itchy skin, dry hair, and blood shot eyes. An overly chlorinated pool can even lead to respiratory problems and asthma.
Like the ocean itself, the health benefits of swimming are practically limitless. Water is a great miracle, with healing agents that are still being discovered. Swimming and other aquatic workouts are capable not only of burning more fat and building more lean muscle than any other workout around. They also can tout their fantastic ability to improve bone health and asthma, improve bone and heart health, and lift your mood like no other workout. Whether you’re searching for a great way to lose weight, a means of improving your health without placing stress on joints, or a way to work out that’s so exhilarating you won’t want to quit, clearly, swimming is the answer.