EVERYBODY BACK IN THE POOL—BENEFITS OF SWIMMING

 

June-2015_Benefits-of-Swimming_HYR-Blog-Imagery1Think of the sheer relief of jumping into the pool on a hot summer’s day. Cool water on your skin. Body tingling when you step out. Makes you feel alive, right? Well, you can feel even more alive by getting your blood pumping while you’re in the water.

Swimming is one of the best workouts you can get. It works your whole body—including your heart and lungs. And it’s a great exercise option when summer temperatures soar.

Consider these benefits of exercising in water…

Water is buoyant. It helps hold you up and cushions you from the effects of gravity. That means there’s not the same pressure on your joints in water as there is on land. So, if you’ve got back pain or arthritic joints, you may be able to exercise in water without the usual pain. But that doesn’t mean you’re not getting a good workout. That’s because…

Water creates resistance. You have to use more effort to move in water because it’s almost 800 times denser than air. This means your muscles (and heart, and lungs) have to work harder to move through the water. Ever seen a swimmer’s toned muscles? That’s water resistance. And swimming helps torch calories. Each stroke and kick helps shape and sculpt lean muscle throughout your body. Lean muscle can help fire up your metabolism and burn more calories, even when you’re back resting on dry land. But it’s not just your body that benefits in water; your mind does, too. That’s because…

Water is soothing. There’s just something calm and relaxing about floating and playing in water. Swimming may help support your emotional health and wellbeing. People tend to feel less tense, depressed, and angry after a good swim. And it can help you clear your head and feel less stressed. Working out in water is also more comfortable than on land because…

Water is cooling. Think about how it feels to run on the treadmill, do squats, or keep up with your aerobics instructor. Now picture yourself swimming laps or doing water aerobics. Notice what’s different (besides the water)? You’re not all hot and sweaty. Water keeps you cooled down and comfortable—even when you’re working hard.

There is one downside to swimming. Remember how water is buoyant? That’s great for your joints but it doesn’t help support bone health as much as weight-bearing exercises. Bones need the physical stress and pull of gravity to stay strong. So, if you’re going to use swimming as your main form of aerobic exercise, you’ll also need to work in some kind of weight-bearing exercise, like walking or tai chi. That way your bones get a workout, too.

So get back in the pool this summer and make some waves!