Swimming works your whole body, improving cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time. Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body’s use of oxygen without overworking your heart.
As you become fitter and are able to swim longer, your resting heart rate and respiratory rate will be reduced, making blood flow to the heart and lungs more efficient. If you’re looking to lose weight, swimming is just the ticket. On average, a swimmer can burn as many calories in an hour as a runner who runs six miles in one hour. Simply put, some call swimming the perfect form of exercise.
Additional Health Benefits of Swimming
- Whole body conditioning: Swimming tones your upper and lower body because you’re using almost all of your major muscle groups. The best strokes for all-over body toning are the freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke.
- Low risk of injury: There is a low risk for swimming injuries because there’s no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy and the fact that you weigh 1/10th less in water. If you’re looking for a safe daily workout routine, swimming is ideal because you can rigorously work out with a reduced chance of swimming injuries. Many athletes supplement their training with swimming.
- Low-impact exercise: So many people can reap the benefits of swimming. Pregnant women benefit from swimming because it helps strengthen the shoulder and abdominal muscles, which can be strained when carrying a baby. The elderly, women who have had a mastectomy and those recovering from an injury often turn to swimming or water aerobic exercises because it’s low impact, helps relax stiff muscles and isn’t weight-bearing. Swimming also increases circulation.
- Improve blood pressure: Studies have shown that a workout routine that includes swimming can help reduce and possibly prevent high blood pressure, which lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Stress reduction: You don’t have to be a water sign in the zodiac to feel the meditative and healing properties of water. Swimming is extremely relaxing because it allows more oxygen to flow to your muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing. It’s also a great way to relieve stress. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so it’s no wonder why some feel such a draw to the water.