Swimming for health is a great way to increase your fitness, health and social circle. There are four swim strokes being freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. There are numerous reasons why you should consider improving your health by just keep swimming for better health.
Cardio workout – continuous movement through the water raises your heart rate.
Strength training – swimming in water is 780 times denser than air resulting in a resistant workout causing your muscles to work harder. To work your arms and shoulders wear hand paddles and use a pool buoy. This puts pressure on your shoulders and arms to carry your entire body. To work your legs use a kickboard so you don’t use your arms which puts pressure on your legs via kicking to glide your body through the water.
Low impact – as the water gives your buoyancy you only bear 10% of your weight which takes pressure off your joints which makes it great also for recovery sessions.
Lung health – swimmers increase lung capacity as their body adapts to using oxygen more efficiently. This then transfers to greater lung capacity whilst breathing outside of the pool. To increase your lung capacity further use a snorkel and breathe only through your snorkel.
Cross training – as you swim you are carrying out a good cardio workout. The result is increased fitness which is then transferred to other sporting participation.
Utilizes underworked muscles – works your legs, arms, glutes, back, core and neck muscles.
Weight loss and management – swimming is a great way to lose and manage weight. Swimming for 30 minutes will burn the following calories – breaststroke 367, butterfly 404, backstroke 257 and freestyle 220.
Benefits for arthritis sufferers – the buoyancy of the water when swimming takes the pressure of arthritic joints making movement easier which will build strong supportive muscles. SSwim and water aerobic sessions in warm water will also soothe arthritic aches.
Benefits to diabetes sufferers – swimming helps burn calories, lose weight and keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Benefits to asthma sufferers – swimming increases your lung capacity and teaches controlled deep breathing techniques.
Cholesterol – swimming will help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and raise your good HDL cholesterol.
Heart health – swimming helps your sugar levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol which reduces the likelihood of heart disease and stroke.
Increased energy levels – as swimming increases your metabolic rate going for a 30-minute swim 3 times a week will increase your energy levels.
Pregnancy – swimming is great for pregnant women as the water supports your body. Make sure the water is at a comfortable heating level and is not too hot or too cold. Take it easy and consult your doctor should problems arise.
Reduces anxiety – being submerged in water isolates you from being bombarded with extrasensory information. The calming feel of the water gliding over your skin puts along with the rhythmic motion of swimming put both your body and mind into a relaxing state.
Promotes sleep – rigorous swim sessions work out your entire body and releases endorphins which promote a great sleep.
Depression – swimming gives you a great body workout along with the calming and meditative state it induces through deep breathing, the feel of the water gliding by on your body, rhythmic movement and the ability to focus entirely on your own world as well as releasing endorphins to put in a great mood.
Makes your smarter – according to a Journal of Physiology blood flow to the brain increased up to 14% when men submerged themselves in water up to their hearts.
Friendships – a great way to meet new people through water aerobics groups, social or competitive swimming squads.
Confidence – now you have a lifelong skill and the ability to be able to swim in any environment whenever the need arises is a great skill to have.
Sweat-free – swimming is a great sweat free exercise. Your body is continually being cooled down by passing water. This makes it a great sport for people who suffer from bad body odor or excessive sweating. Grant Hackett understood the benefits of swimming very well, not only for professional sports reasons but also for health-related reasons.
Research undertaken by Indiana University showed swimmers look (and are in a biological way) around 15 to 20 years younger than their current age. A swim promotes positive effects on their cholesterol level, blood pressure, central nervous system, cardiovascular performance, muscle mass, cognitive functioning, and blood chemistry.
Swimming in salt water helps your skin retain moisture while detoxifying and promoting new cell growth. See also this post on backstroke techniques.
As you can see from the above, swimming for health has many great benefits for both your physical and mental health. It is a sport that can be commenced as a toddler and continued into your old age. To swim, all you need is bathers, cap, and goggles.