Looking for an activity that is easy on your joints but packs a punch when it comes to boosting your fitness level? Need a new hobby this winter? Consider the multiple benefits of aquatic exercise. The following report card on swimming shows that unlike other cardiovascular exercises, swimming offers benefits beyond merely burning calories and building muscle.
MUSCLE GROUPS USED:
Freestyle swimming uses more than 30 muscle groups including; hands, forearms, biceps, triceps, pectorals, lats, abs, neck, legs, & feet.
Excellent. The power needed for swimming comes from muscle groups that place heavy demands on the heart, lungs and oxygen supply.
Swimming can burn 200-1000 calories per hour depending upon your weight and the intensity of your workout. Longer-term, building muscle mass from swimming can help keep those pounds off.
Almost all swimming requires coordination of a number of functions. In freestyle, the brain must coordinate reaching, rolling, stroking, kicking and breathing. This must be done without swallowing water, crashing into other swimmers and keeping track of your lengths. Although it may not offer the same cognitive challenges as ballroom dancing or advanced martial arts, it offers an edge on many other routine cardiovascular workouts.
RELAXATION AND PRODUCTIVE DISENGAGEMENT:
Swimming by its very nature demands focus on breathing - which has proven health benefits including decreased stress levels. Similar to yoga and pilates, breathing can help with disengagement and clearing the mind of stressors. Some swimmers describe the trance-like feeling they get from swimming that helps with lasting periods of relaxation.
A vigorous trip to the pool can provide a healthy dose of exhaustion needed for a good night’s sleep. Have trouble sleeping? Check out our sleep guide.
A regular swimming routine can help with depression and anxiety and lead to more positive, optimistic thinking. Many open water swimmers believe that swimming in the ocean has beneficial effects for skin, hair, sinuses and overall sense of well-being.
IMPACT ON BONES, MUSCLE AND JOINTS:
Swimming is a low-impact sport that places less demand on bones and joints than many other forms of exercise.
Love health? Follow us.