Swimming makes a great addition to anyone’s fitness journey. It offers both strength and cardio training, and lots of health perks, too!
But while most of us already know that swimming is good for our cardiovascular health, not many of us are aware of its other incredible health benefits.
Find out how swimming can help torch calories, keep your lungs and heart strong, boost your mood, relieve your stress, and improve your sleep quality. Read on to explore these benefits and more, and how you can add swimming to your fitness journey!
How Swimming Benefits Your Health
Swimming is a great exercise for your entire body
One of the best physical benefits of swimming is its ability to work (and consequently, enhance) your body from head to toe!
In swimming, you perform several strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Each of these strokes works to tone different muscle groups, resulting in firmer and more toned muscles.
While giving your muscles a good workout, swimming also enhances your strength and endurance.
Swimming boosts your cardiovascular health
Swimming plays a crucial role in the promotion of cardiovascular health. Not only does it keep your lungs strong but your heart as well.
Researchers even concluded that people who swim cut their risk of death by half compared with inactive people. Several studies also provided proof that swimming can benefit blood pressure and arterial stiffness, and enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.
Swimming improves asthma symptoms
People suffering from asthma apparently can get relief from swimming! Experts say that swimming proves to be an ideal activity for asthmatic people, especially children.
The symptom-enhancing effects of swimming are attributed to the humid environment in indoor pools as well as the gentle force of water.
As a result of improved asthma symptoms, swimming helps to reduce hospital visits.
Swimming helps people with multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disabling disease of the central nervous system that adversely affects the brain and/or spinal cord. Luckily, MS sufferers can find relief from swimming, too!
Research discovered that swimming can ease the pain experienced by people suffering from multiple sclerosis. This is because the water provides both support and gentle resistance for MS patients during physical activity.
According to the study, MS sufferers who performed a 20-week swimming program experienced less pain within 10 weeks from the program’s conclusion.
The research further revealed that the study participants also improved their other symptoms such as disability, fatigue, and depression.
Swimming enhances your mood
Looking for a mood booster? Swimming may give you exactly just that! One research found evidence that swimming can enhance the mood of people with dementia.
According to the study, the 12-week aquatic program decreased the behavioral and psychological symptoms in people with dementia (BPSD).
It also discovered that swimming enhanced the psychological wellness of people suffering from moderate to severe dementia.
Generally speaking, the mood-enhancing powers of exercise such as swimming not only benefit people with health conditions but other individuals as well.
Swimming relieves stress
Not only can swimming boost your mood, but it can relieve your stress as well. Swimming was also found to play an important role in stress management.
Researchers found that the activity reduces the feeling of stress and depression in swimmers. Of the 101 swimmers surveyed for the study, only eight reported feeling stressed after swimming.
Swimming burns calories
Want to lose weight but are not very fond of the gym? Why not hit the pool instead? Swimming is also a great and efficient way to torch all those calories!
The aquatic activity helps a 73-kilogram individual to burn 423 calories per hour by performing light to moderate laps. The longer and more intense the swimming, the more calories it burns.
Swimming enhances sleep quality
Swimming may also help you get a restful night. According to a study conducted on older adults with chronic insomnia, those who performed regular physical aerobic activity improved their sleep quality.
The research further revealed that not only did the active adults gain better sleep but had reduced depressive symptoms and daytime sleepiness as well.
Swimming offers you an alternative way to work your body out if you find other fitness routines less engaging.
Additionally, you can perform this physical activity if you are looking for an effective way to enhance your sleep quality. It proves to be a great way to lose weight and get better rest, too!
How to Get Started with Swimming
Find a swimming facility near you
To reap these benefits, you obviously need to get started. The first thing that you need to do is look for a pool within your immediate area. Aside from gyms, there are community centers that provide swimming classes.
It’s best to form a list of pools near you and do some research about these facilities. Then pay each one a visit to come up with the one that best fits your preference and budget.
Allocate a budget for swimming classes
Don’t worry too much about budget, though, as swimming is often more affordable compared with other aerobic activities such as cycling. You’d be surprised to find out that many pool facilities actually offer reasonable rates.
There are even community centers and public schools who willingly offer their facilities for free or adjust their rates with your income.
Remember to go slow
You might get excited to start your fitness journey when you’ve already found a facility perfect for your lifestyle and resources. But don’t jump right in and swim too intensely or too long, especially on your first day.
Remember that any physical activity requires warm up. It is essential for you to prepare your muscles first before taking that splash.
You can do pull-ups, squats, double-digit reps, and overhead presses to enhance your form and prepare your muscles. If you think you need extra help, you may consider a personal trainer.
Consider swimming lessons
If you’re totally new to swimming, you might want to consider taking swimming lessons. You can take private lessons or join group swimming classes.
When you enroll in such classes, you will be taught breathing techniques, different strokes, and other tips that’ll help you maximize your aquatic workout.
Observe pool rules
You don’t want to get yourself kicked out of the pool facility, so it’s important to follow proper pool etiquette.
Some facilities are so particular about pool rules that improper behavior may result in consequences such as suspension of pool use or other disciplinary action.
If you are not sure about anything, it’s best to ask pool personnel or the lifeguard regarding your concerns.
Follow a swimmer’s diet
If the main purpose of your swimming workout is weight loss, you might also want to follow a certain diet that will provide you with sufficient energy for the activity.
Experts suggest taking your meals at least 30 minutes before any physical activity that will last for more than an hour.
They also recommend eating a little lean protein and quality carbohydrates and consuming these foods right after swimming.
But while experts recommend eating after your workout since you’re more likely to feel hungry, this isn’t an excuse to binge on drive-thru meals.
It is best to prepare a post-workout meal that you can enjoy before you savor on another decent, yummy dish at home.
Some Safety Tips for Swimming
Getting started is one thing, staying safe is another. To succeed in your fitness journey, you also need to arm yourself with some safety guidelines to prevent your risk of accidents and other unfortunate incidents.
Maximize and enjoy your swim time by following these handy tips:
Only swim in areas that are meant for swimming like indoor pools, and properly marked sections of beaches, and other bodies of water.
Lifeguards ensure the safety of swimmers, surfers, and other individuals doing aquatic activities. It is highly recommended to swim with a lifeguard’s supervision. If a lifeguard is not available, look for a swimming buddy.
If you’re new to the aquatic activity, it’s best to enroll in a swimming class. There are age-appropriate lessons that you can avail for a reasonable rate.
Do not forget to wear a sunscreen that contains at least SPF 15 (the higher the better, though). This is particularly important, especially if you’re going to swim outdoors. Also, consider swimming before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. so you can avoid the sun’s peak.
Keep yourself hydrated. You may not notice it since you’re in the water, but you’re actually sweating while you swim. It’s important to replenish the water that you lose through perspiration. So, drink lots of water even when you’re not feeling thirsty.
If you’re looking for a total body workout that doesn’t require the gym, you can consider swimming! It’s a fun activity that boasts amazing perks for your overall health and wellness.
To enjoy the benefits of swimming every day, you need to start somewhere. You can follow our tips on how to get started with swimming, and let the little mermaid in you have fun!