Swimming is a great form of exercise. Here are some of the many benefits of swimming:
Burn calories – Swimming burns calories which can help lose body fat. Depending on individual factors such as body weight, speed and stroke, swimming can burn between 400-800 calories per hour. We should aim to swim around 30 minutes 4 or 5 times per week if possible and build up gradually by increasing speed and duration.
Improve cardiovascular health – Swimming can play an important role in maintaining good heart health. It will raise our heart rate whilst working the large muscle groups of the body. It is important to note that our heart rate may be lower in water than it is on land so before embarking on an exercise program, consult a doctor if you have any concerns.
Build muscle – water provides natural resistance which can also be made by moving your body through the water, pushing or pulling with your arms and legs. Muscle building is essential for strength and balance. If swimming just isn’t your thing, performing simple exercises in water such as aqua aerobics or even walking or running in water can be very effective in strengthening muscle tone.
Minimizes impact and injury – swimming is a great accessible form of exercise for people suffering joint problems or individuals who need a low impact workout. With the effect of gravity reduced, there is less pressure on the joints. Many people who may not be able to participate in other types of exercise due to injury or mobility issues may find that swimming is the perfect solution for them.
Positively impacts mental health – Swimming can be fun and relaxing. It is a good way to “switch off” and escape the daily stress of life – and it doesn’t need to be boring. Swim with a friend, join a club or try open water swimming for a change of scenery. A recent study carried out in the UK found that swimming significantly reduced the symptoms of anxiety and depression for 1.4 million adults. Around half a million people with existing mental health issues also reported that they had significantly reduced their need to visit health professionals as a result of taking up swimming.
Swimming is the perfect addition to any exercise program – it is a great all-round form of exercise which, regardless of age and ability, can benefit our physical, mental and social well-being while helping us get fit and stay healthy and active.