The consensus among fitness experts is that swimming is one of the best exercises, for a variety of reasons. The prestigious Harvard Medical School even places swimming at the top of their list, calling it “the perfect workout.” If you’re interested in dipping your toes into the deep end, keep scrolling to learn why swimming is a great exercise.
IT BURNS A TON OF CALORIES
Want to burn some calories to lose or maintain weight? For someone who weighs 200 pounds, an hour of swimming laps at a light or moderate pace burns nearly 530 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Step up the pace to a vigorous level, and this person torches almost 900 calories in an hour. That’s more than they would burn in an hour of singles tennis, using a rowing machine or even playing racquetball. About 3,500 calories equal 1 pound of fat. Even at the lighter swimming pace, a person could lose 1 pound a week by swimming for an hour a day.
IT’S APPEALING TO ALL AGES
Persuading kids and teenagers to turn off the TV and get some exercise isn’t always easy. Adults aren’t always motivated either. The fun factor of a swimming pool, however, has a universal appeal to all ages. The sheer variety of maneuvers keeps the action from getting stale. Even people who have never learned to swim can appreciate paddling around in the water with a flutterboard or playing a game of water volleyball.
IT’S A FULL-BODY WORKOUT
Using your favorite swimming stroke to do laps around the pool can earn you a broad range of benefits—more than you would with nearly any other athletic activity. Some of these include:
- increasing muscle strength and flexibility
- strengthening your heart and boosting lung capacity
- toning your arms, legs, abdomen and buttocks
- building core strength
You can also target specific parts of your body you want to tone. For instance, you might hold onto the edge of the pool and kick your legs or use a flutterboard for the same activity.
IT’S BEGINNER AND INJURY-FRIENDLY
Swimming can provide an intense cardiovascular and muscular workout. It also offers a relatively easy way for a person with joint or muscle pain to get some beneficial exercise. People with conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia appreciate the buoyancy of the water in a swimming pool. Water reduces the effects of gravity on muscles and joints while still supporting the body.
IT CAN IMPROVE PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH
The repetitive nature of swimming is mentally relaxing, even when you do it vigorously. The soothing environment of the water can help you forget the stress of the day. Also, as you set and achieve new goals, you boost your self-esteem.
You can get started with your own customized swimming program at a local public pool or fitness center. Indoor pools tend to be the most convenient since you can use them no matter what the weather is like outside. Begin swimming regularly and realize the significant step toward improved health and fitness.