Swimming is the ultimate all in-one fitness package, working most muscles in the body in a variety of ways with every stroke.
Just over a month ago, I was at the gym and couldn’t help but notice an increase in the number of adults swimming at the time. It’s quite amazing how swimming has become popular and it’s one of the most fun, easy and quick ways one can stay fit.
It has always been an activity many people have done practically their entire lives. Kids look forward to days at the pool, lake, or ocean, splashing around and racing friends.
Family swimming,Image Istock
When adulthood strikes though, our joy of playing in the water typically subsides. Our minds are filled with images of swimming lap after lap in an effort to lose weight, gain fitness, or compete in a swimming meet or triathlon.
The benefits of swimming are numerous, significant and undeniable. Swimming can be beneficial to people across a broad range of ages and abilities. Swimming positively affects many aspects of life. It’s no wonder that physicians, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and fitness coaches alike praise swimming as one of the best ways to stay in shape.
Swimming is the ultimate all in-one fitness package, working most muscles in the body in a variety of ways with every stroke. When strokes are performed correctly, the muscles lengthen and increase in flexibility. The significant repetition of strokes improves muscle endurance, and because water creates more resistance against the body, the muscles are strengthened and toned.
Man swimming, Image :Istock
Swimming also significantly enhances core strength. The hips, back and abdominal muscles are crucial to moving through the water effectively and efficiently. Swimming builds these core muscles better than any abs video or gadget advertised on television.
A properly structured swimming workout also provides incredible improvements to the cardiovascular system. Swimming significantly promotes and improves lung capacity.
In fact, both aerobic and anaerobic gains can be made in the same workout. Swimming is also good for the mind and spirit. The orderly repetition of swimming combined with its non-impact nature is a soothing, relaxing form of exercise.
A good swim can help to clear the mind and calm the spirit after a tough day at work.
Start with 15 to 20 minutes swimming every other day and gradually increase to 30 to 45 minute swims once or twice a week.
If you can start a new swimming routine at too high an intensity, muscle soreness and fatigue could cause you to give up.
If you can’t swim, take up swimming lessons. If you are water safe but aren’t good at your strokes get a coach to help you with stroke correction. This will help you to swim more efficiently and utilise your muscles more effectively.
Besides the physical and mental benefits provided, swimming has many practical advantages over other forms of exercise. As long as lifeguards are present, swimming is extremely safe. Swimmers don’t risk getting hit by a car or chased by a dog; they never have to choose between finishing a workout and being alone in a dark or dangerous area; and they don’t have to wonder when the equipment was last sanitised.