Swimming is more than just a fun recreational activity to pass the time on a hot summer day, it doubles as a safe and effective exercise, working out nearly every muscle in the body while reducing pressure on joints. Whether you're looking to shed those unwanted pounds, build bigger muscles, or a combination of the two, you should look no further than your local swimming pool.
The Physical Fitness Benefits of Swimming
Why is swimming such a powerful and effective form of exercise? If you've spent more than 30 minutes or longer in the pool, you are probably well aware of its impact on the body. You'll feel exhausted and hungry upon stepping out of the pool, which is a clear indication that you've burned a moderate amount of calories.
Swimming is a considered a full-body exercise, as it works out the arms, legs, abdominals, shoulders and back. Being that it's harder to pull your body through water than air, it's also a form of resistance training. Each stroke you take to propel your body through the water requires muscle exertion on your part, which translates into muscle growth and development.
Protects The Joints
One of the problems associated with traditional exercise is the increased pressure placed on the joints and bones. Performing barbell chest presses, for instance, forces pressure on the shoulders and elbows. A couple chest presses probably isn't going to cause any lasting problems but performing them for several months or years will increase your chance of developing arthritis, joint pain and other joint conditions.
Thankfully, swimming eliminates the possibility of joint pain by creating a near-weightless feeling. You can swim for hours on end without suffering from any joint pain or discomfort. Water drastically reduces a person's weight to the point where there's a very minimal amount of pressure on the joints.
If swimming laps in the pool doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could try water aerobics.
“This water workout reduces the weight of a person by up to 90 percent, thus reducing the stress burden on your body’s joints. The water also provides a natural resistance to your movements, making your aerobics workout intense without you realizing it. Aqua Aerobics also provides you with cardiovascular and strength training ,” said Cristiana Pipoli, professional aqua aerobics trainer.
Tips For a More Beneficial Swim Session:
Use a stopwatch (waterproof of course) to time your laps.
Participate in a water aerobics class.
Stay active by moving around the pool rather than standing idle.
Perform lunges in waist-deep water.