Swim for Your Health
Be it pool, lake, river or ocean, going for a swim is a fun activity and a solid strategy when the heat gets unbearable. But even when it’s not, there are many health benefits. Whether you’re swimming laps, working on your strokes or just splashing around in a backyard pool, your body’s getting a lot out of it.
Swimming as Exercise
As a method of exercise, swimming is unique in that it enables you to get your heart rate up, working your cardiovascular system while remaining low impact. It’s easier on your joints and skeletal system. How? The water does the hard work by supporting most of your weight.
Muscle Tone and Strength
Swimming is perhaps the purest form of resistance training. Your entire body is engaged while you attempt to move through the water, which provides resistance. This tones muscles and builds strength over time. The resistance water puts upon your body is much greater than that of air (if you were walking or jogging). Aqua-cycling, fat-burning underwater cardio activities and even weight training exercises in the pool have grown increasingly popular in recent years.
Arthritis and Rehabilitation
Swimming is an ideal form of exercise for those who suffer from arthritis, and it’s also beneficial for those rehabilitating from joint-related injuries and even surgery. Exercise can often speed recovery time, and swimming and water aerobics provide a low-impact way to get it without the pain caused by some on-land activities. It’s important to note that for all of swimming’s benefits, it has not been found to increase bone strength and density. Be sure to pair some weight-bearing exercises with your swimming routine to build strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s Never Too Late
Many adults never learned to swim and let their embarrassment or fear keep them from learning. However, there are both group and private lessons available for adults in most communities! Check your local YMCA, community center, universities, and park systems — pretty much anywhere there’s a large pool, there’s likely adult lessons offered (even at the beginner level).