There are plenty of reasons to swim but we’re noting eight that resonate with us.
- Swimming is low impact.
You don’t create an impact with the ground when you swim. And this protects your joints from stress and strain. This is, in fact, one of the reasons that The Arthritis Foundation strongly recommends swimming and water activities and even sponsors water classes all over the country.
Water aerobics classes are also low impact. Even if you jump up and down and hit the bottom of the pool, you do it with much less force than you would out of water because of the buoyance you have in the water. If you want to reduce the impact of jumping during water aerobics even more, wear a flotation device during the class!
- Swimming can be a lifetime activity.
Because of #1, you can swim for your entire life. If you don’t believe this, check out the United States Masters Swimming web site. You will see age categories for swim competitions that include a 100- to 104-year-old age group!
- Swimming builds cardiorespiratory fitness.
It is proven that swimming improves endurance. In one study, sedentary middle-aged men and women did swim training for 12 weeks. The maximal oxygen consumption of this group improved 10% and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength) improved as much as 18%.
- Swimming builds muscle mass.
In a study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the muscles in the back of the arm (triceps). Those who have done no muscle mass training will certainly notice a difference in their muscle mass after swimming regularly over a period of time. Even if you’re not looking to gain muscle mass, the improvements in strength and toning that you will see are well worth your efforts.
- Swimming is an alternative when injured.
When athletes are injured, particularly in the lower extremities, they are frequently instructed to swim to maintain their fitness level. Without making the injury worse, the athlete can swim to maintain endurance, strength and tone. It is often even incorporated into a injured athlete’s rehabilitation. This is possible because the resistance of the water makes the muscles work hard without strain or harmful impact.
- The entire family can swim.
Swimming is something that everyone in the family can learn and enjoy. It is a great activity where all ages can share in something without the level of ability being a tremendous factor. With rising levels of obesity in children and adults in the United States, family physical activities like swimming could be a great opportunity to stem the epidemic we’re suffering in activity and obesity.
- Swimming burns calories.
Swimming burns anywhere from 500-650 per hour – depending on how efficiently you swim. Interestingly enough, you burn more flopping around than swimming cleanly! If you compare calories burned swimming to those burned while running and biking, you will see that swimming burns about 11% fewer calories than running but only 3% fewer calories than biking. Of course, these percentages are dependent on the intensity of the exercise – and it is entirely possible to burn off more while swimming than running or biking – but this comparison shares an average example of how swimming ‘s calorie burn rate stacks up to other common exercises.
And the real benefit in swimming’s calorie burn is that it’s easy on the joints, supports your weight, builds muscular strength and endurance, improves cardiovascular fitness and can be done safely into old age.
- Swimming can save your life.
Swimming is a life skill that everyone should have. With 70% of the Earth’s surface being covered with water, the danger of having an accident in the water or near enough to it to fall in is great. Learning to swim is insurance against that. If you can swim, you can protect yourself and others who’ve not yet attained this skill.
(Photo Credit: © All rights reserved by thalassablu1)