The Full Benefits of Swimming

You need to start searching for your local swimming pools. It is really that simple. Swimming offers a whole range of health and lifestyle benefits, both physical, and mental. In essence it is the most holistic form of health and fitness that is available to all of you – at least all of you that can swim of course.

By the end of this article, if not before, you will indeed be searching for your local swimming pools, checking out their opening times, whether they accommodate families and of course their fees etc. If you do not believe this then read on. Likewise if this claim has sparked an interest but you are still to be fully persuaded, then digest the article and come to your own conclusions as to the full benefits of swimming. Whilst it cannot guarantee you’ll be searching for your goggles, it will help you see swimming from and altogether new viewpoint. To see whether such bold claims can be met, consider the following…

Exercise

Whatever your current preferred form of exercise it is universally accepted that people do need to work out, and to do so regularly. Sedentary lifestyles, poor diet choices and a lack of regular physical activity has sparked a public health problem. Obesity levels are increasing, and the associated risks of heart problems, cancer and diabetes come hand in hand with these statistics. People need to eat better, but more than anything people need to do more. Swimming is a great way of doing more, and here are some of the benefits that swimming can offer.

The Whole Body Workout

Hitting the gym is great, you can isolate individual muscle groups such as chest, arms and even legs (you shouldn’t forget your legs). But imagine the time it would take to hit each of these areas with sufficient regularity to make a real difference. You would probably have to take a sleeping back to the gym. If only there were an exercise that could target the whole body…

Yes, you guessed it, there is, and it is of course swimming. Swimming truly provides a full body workout, probably the best form available for many reasons as you’ll see. Your whole body will be engaged, from head to toe. It increases your heart rate without putting stressing your body, and the heart is of course the most important muscle that you have. Swimming tones your muscles, and if you are uncertain about this claim, then tune in next time that there is a swimming event on television. The sculpted bodies of the professional swimmers may be a far reach away for most people, they are after all professional athletes, but the evidence is as clear as the muscle tone and definition. Whilst you cannot “see” strength, you can imagine that these athletes have it in abundance, together with endurance and explosive power.

So swimming can offer a shortcut to a full body workout, especially when you factor into your workout all of the various strokes. But what else can it provide?

Inside Out

Strength and athleticism are not just based on the visible muscles, there are gains to be had from swimming that are internal. Your cardiovascular system will be getting a great workout, as will your respiratory system. Your overall health when it comes to your heart and lungs will not only help you in your day to day life, but can benefit any other sports or activities that you partake in, such as cycling. In addition regular swimming can decrease your levels of blood sugar, if of course you regulate your diet too, but it can also lower your blood pressure. Remember “high” is not a great word for sugar or pressure, so swimming can help you avoid these problems and the consequences of each.

Problems

Swimming is not however restricted to the fit and healthy. Any person can learn to swim regardless of their initial fitness, but they will see improvements even in the short term. People with injuries are often side-lined from exercise, and this can be frustrating and demoralising too. They can however sometimes still swim, and thus still workout. Swimming is an important tool in the rehab of certain (though not of course all) injuries and can also help people with debilitating conditions such as arthritis and even disability. Because you are supported by the water, there is less immediate strain, and thus the problems can be worked around and rehabilitated.

Asthma sufferers often feel precluded from exercise because of their respiratory restrictions. Swimming however is different. The actual warm and humid conditions of the pool will be a help to start with, but the breathing techniques and the improvement in respiratory health will benefit most asthmatics quite quickly. This will in turn enable them to engage in more away from the pool too.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers too can be helped by regular pool activity as the water adds buoyancy to the limbs helping support the body during exercise whilst offering a little pain free resistance to improve the results.

Calories

Perhaps one of the biggest questions when it comes to health and fitness is how many calories does an activity use. If you are trying to lose weight then you’ll probably calorie counting, and whilst you will still need to monitor your intake, it is important that you burn as many calories as possible too. To lose weight you need to become calories deficient, i.e. burn more than you eat and a sensible target is 500 per day. Now it is easier to eat 500 less than burn 500 more but it is all about balance. If you are able to find an intensive workout that burns many calories then this will help…and swimming does exactly that.

You are using energy to propel your body through the water against a resistance – the density of the water itself. Whilst swimming is not as impactful as other exercises such as running that can truly pound your joints (think runner’s knee), the resistance means an increased calorie burn. Just how many calories you will burn depends on your own mass, but like for like swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for burning those pesky calories.

Sleep, Stress, And State of Mind

Not only does swimming offer a great physical workout, but it can also benefit your mental health too. In life, many of the challenges you will meet will be cognitive and a stress free mind will help you resolve the same quicker.

The world is becoming more and more stressed, people are suffering from poor sleep quality and their state of minds are suffering as a result. Swimming helps promote a good night’s sleep, as does exercise in general, but because swimming can be more inclusive for all people, it is a great form of improving sleep for everyone.

Escaping from the day, submerged and supported in water is also a great form of stress relief too. Add to this the fact that your phone will be locked away in the changing room, then you’ll soon realise how much swimming can help you relax and regenerate. So if something is good for you physically and mentally, surely it has to be worth consideration?

Swimming can offer a lot. It is an entirely inclusive exercise. You can do it if you’re pregnant, injured, disabled, overweight, asthmatic etc. You can partake in swimming as an adult or a child, individually or as a family, and very few forms of exercise offer than – the chance to have fun and be active together as a family.

It is affordable too. Whilst some swimming pools have closed due to funding problems, there are still a number of local public swimming pools out there. In addition, a lot of leisure clubs and gyms have access to a pool, so even if you’re not interested in lifting weights, you can still workout.

So, isn’t time that you immersed yourself in a local swimming pool? Not only will you benefit in terms of your physical health and fitness, but your mental health will improve too. Given that you gain so much from swimming, and that because it is so beneficial you do not have to do it as often as other exercise, it really should be something that appeals to all. Maybe you’ve dismissed it previously, or it just hadn’t crossed your mind. Now though you are fully aware, and it’s time you dived right in!

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