Updated: Feb 1
For those who want to lose some extra pounds, swimming is both a unique and highly effective alternative to other variations of cardio like biking or jogging. It is one of the best forms of cardio because, even though it works the entire body, it is low-impact. And regardless of your swimming abilities, with just a little bit of practice, you will be able to hit the water and lose weight while swimming.
Benefits of Swimming
One of the biggest swimming benefits is that it works the entire body from head to toe. It increases the heart rate without stressing the body, it builds strength, endurance and tones muscles. However, that’s not all.
It works the insides
While your muscles are going through quite a quality workout, your cardiovascular system is working out as well. Swimming makes your lungs and your heart stronger, and some researchers say that it even reduces the risk of premature death – compared to people who are inactive, swimmers are at a lower risk. Also, it lowers blood pressure and controls blood sugar.
It is appropriate for people with various injuries and health conditions
Exactly. Swimming is a safe exercise for people with arthritis, disability or injuries and issues that make high-impact workouts difficult for them. It even reduces pain and fastens up the recovery from injuries.
The best workout option for people with asthma
Firstly, the humid environment pleases people with asthma, and secondly, all those breathing exercises that are associated with swimming, such as holding your breath, are helping them expand their lung capacity and gain control over their breathing. However, people with asthma should swim in pools that use salt water rather than chlorine.
It burns calories
A 72.5-kilogram person is going to burn around 420 calories per hour while swimming moderate pace laps. And when the pace is more vigorous, that same person will be able to burn up to 700 calories per hour. And if these numbers confuse you, take a look at this: again, that same 160-pound person is going to burn around 300 calories while walking 3.5 miles in 60 minutes, and around 360 calories while working out on the elliptical for an hour.
It is safe during pregnancy
Pregnant women can reap some great rewards from swimming. It can even protect the baby against hypoxia-ischemia. But besides potential child benefits, it is the only type of workout that can be performed in all three trimesters.
To start off, firstly, you need to get dressed – of course. And to really motivate yourself, invest in a couple of attractive swimwear pieces that will look good on you and boost your confidence. Secondly, find a pool near you. Many gyms offer lap swimming times and things like aqua-jogging and water aerobics so check that out.
Prepare the muscles
It is important to start slow. You may even want to start off in the gym first with strength training that will work your muscles before hitting the water. Moves such as pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, overhead presses etc. are also a good practice.
Follow the rules
Once you get in the water, make sure you observe the etiquette. Often, there are slow, medium and fast lanes. If you want to pass someone in front of you, do it on the left-hand side. Also, when entering and exiting, avoid actions that will create waves or interfere with other swimmers, such as jumping.
People who are new to this will benefit from taking swim lessons that are usually offered in either private or group settings. In those lessons, you will learn breathing techniques, different strokes as well as other handy tips that will help you get the most out of your workout.
Just like every sport, even swimming has some risks. However, you can prevent them by, firstly, swimming only in areas designated for swimming. Secondly, if you are swimming outdoors, wear at least 15 SPF to protect your skin. And whatever you do, never forget to drink water. Because we are feeling cool in the water, we tend to forget that swimming is the workout with the highest dehydration risk.
As you can see, swimming has a whole range of benefits for your body, mind and soul. What are you waiting for? Visit the nearest pool right now.