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Health Benefits of Swimming

By Chantal

Swimming exercises have the power to give your muscles a change, make you into a cardio king, make you younger and calm you quicker. In some countries like Australia, swimming is one of the most popular sports. The country is surrounded by water and to them swimming is one their great passion. In as much as swimming is a fun exercise, it is also a great way to stay healthy, keep fit and make friends. It is a low-impact activity with many physical and mental health benefits. For people of all age groups, swimming is a great recreational activity. Swimming for recreational purposes can provide you with a low-impact workout and it is also a good way in which you can use to relax and feel good. Most of the common styles used in recreational swimming are backstroke, breaststroke, side stroke and front crawl (freestyle). Most people out there who are passionate about swimming want to take it to a competitive level.  This can deliver the health benefits of an energetic workout as well as the fun and excitement of competition. The key strokes used in swimming competition are freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly, while the distances swum can vary from 50 meters in a swimming pool to much greater distances in open water. Swimming workouts are great exercises since you need to move your entire body against the resistance of the water. To get started with swimming exercises is quite easy since it is a sport for all groups, skills and fitness levels. Doing your working out in the water is one of the most therapeutic activities that you can ever take part in. Water exercises build cardio, strength and resistance while being easy on your joints and in a cool and relaxing atmosphere. There are some major health benefits of swimming pool exercises that exist. Most old swimmers who swim regularly have managed to increase both their life expectancy and overall quality of their life. In addition to being a fit and healthy human being, with swimming pool exercises you can expect better fitness in general. If you are thinking of how to improve your life, then you just need to pair swimming with a balanced diet. Here are some amazing health swimming benefits:

It Builds Muscle Strength

Water is unpredictable in its movements because it is a flowing and constantly changing product of nature. The pool resistance can range from 4 to 42 times greater than air since the flow of water is in multiple directions. It is as a result of this that the body’s muscles get a rigid workout any time you swim. Based on a study that was conducted in 2007, it was found that after 12 weeks of regular aquatic aerobic exercise, the participants of this exercise had made significant gains in strength, agility and flexibility. If you take a moment to think about water then you will realize that water is thicker than air, and this has a lot of implications when it comes to the body fitness. Basically, every stroke, twist, kick, turn, and every direction you take when swimming requires you to move against the water’s resistance. As compared to walking or jogging a mile on the land, to swim or jog a mile in water takes much longer time. This is due to the fact that the constant resistance of water makes it much more difficult when swimming in water. However, working against the resistance especially when you are pushing yourself to improve, build the muscles and causes it to grow stronger.

Swimming boosts your immune system

It has been studies that cold water has an effect on the immune system. That is, swimming help to boost the white blood cell count since the body is forced to react to changing conditions inside the water. When you continue swimming regularly, your body becomes better at mobilizing its defenses. That is why it is difficult for people who take part in swimming to get sick.

Swimming gives you a high endorphin

What the brain of a human being produces to make a human feel good about certain activities is the endorphins Swimming pool exercises have been proven to treat depression. This is due to the fact that swimming exercises brings you close to the pain barrier in which endorphins are then released to help you cope in the situation. Therefore, swimming pool exercises are good because it is particularly helpful in the release of endorphin.

Swimming Burns Calories

The blend of strength and cardio workouts mixed with water resistance in swimming exercises makes sure the body gets a full workout.  Depending on cardio activity, water temperature, weight, volume and buoyancy, the body can burn between 200 to 350 calories in a minute of exercise. Likewise, a 150 pound person can burn 272 calories in 30 minutes but while jogging a mile for 12 minutes on land, the person is expected to burn that exact same amount. The real beauty of swimming exercise is that even though it burns calories at a rate that is similar to that of other aerobic activities, it is often easier in the feelings. This is also as a result to the fact that swimming exercises tends to be enjoyable. When you are having a good time it is easy to overlook how hard you are working.

Swimming is Good for Increase Flexibility

One of the components of fitness that is often ignored is flexibility. As you increase in age, flexibility becomes very important. This due to the fact that, flexibility can limit range of mobility and motion, decreasing coordination and balance, thereby ultimately contributing to falls. Swimming exercises are an effective and easy way to increase flexibility because of the unique environment that water provides. The buoyancy delivered by water when swimming enables you to move in ways you cannot be able to move when you are on land. For example, only few people can actually perform a flip turn on land but in water you might be able to perform a flip turn very easily. Similarly, it is not very easy to move into stretches on land but in water you can move into stretches by either standing in the shallow end or suspended in the water while using a pool noodle. With this it is now possible for people with stiff joints and muscles to gradually improve their flexibility and regain full range of motion. One thing you can also bear in mind is that water that is warm is better for enhancing flexibility because it helps to keep the muscles pliable. To be able to maximize your experience, you can look for classes like water yoga or the Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Programs that take place in warm-water pools.

Swimming Eases Pressure on the Joints

It has been shown by studies that water-based exercises such as swimming pool exercise release pressure that has been placed on joints from arthritis and normal wear and tear. For those suffering from joint issues, hydrotherapy has shown to be the leading form of therapy. Swimming and other aquatic exercises are extremely easy on the releasing of any pressure on the joints. Swimming activities make it possible for those who are overweight, injured and those suffering from chronic joint pain to comfortably move in the swimming pool. It is this comfort of swimming pool exercise that makes it accessible to populations who might not be able to do other exercises. Swimming also carries a low risk of injury because it involves very little joint strain. That is, compared to other sports that you might get injuries when doing them, the possibility of getting injured in swimming is very low, especially if you are engaging in swimming for fitness, rather than going for it as a competitive sport.

Swimming Keep the Heart Healthy

When swimming, the water pressure actually works with your blood as well and enables your blood flow to circulate more effectively throughout your body. This decreases your blood pressure and in the long run decreases your resting heart rate. These swimming benefits imply that your heart is maintaining its productivity while less stress is put on it. Aerobic activities comprise of swimming laps, water jogging, and water exercise. That implies swimming workouts get your heart pumping and your vascular system functioning in order to pump oxygenated blood to your working muscles.  Anytime you do a sustained swimming exercise lasting longer than 10 minutes, you are engaging your cardiovascular system in a way that can improve your heart’s health. Knowing that heart disease is the leading cause of death of men and women in the world today, performing heart-healthy exercise as a priority is incredibly important if you want to have a healthy heart. Just make sure to get clearance from your doctor to get yourself involve in any type of swimming exercise program of your choice. These programs are especially for people who have known cardiovascular disease or risk factors in their family history.

According to a research carried out by Tanaka on people with the condition, swimming decreases arterial stiffness which is a risk factor for heart trouble. The greater part of his research has related swim training with lower blood pressure among people with hypertension. In as much as swimming is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming for just 30 minutes a week can help you to guard against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Swimming is a Low-Impact Exercise for the Joint

Swimming as a low impact means it is a great workout for injured sports persons, who want to take it easy on their joints. You can swim on regular basis at higher intensities without feeling wear and tear on your body. Also, you could have super-hard swimming pool exercises one day and still be in the pool the next day. According to a research in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, swimming is better than straight-up rest for exercise recovery, for those who want to take it easy. You might not have notice that the traditional impact you place on our joints during a land workout can be taxing but during swimming, the buoyancy of the water helps takes off some of the impact you tend to place on your body, due to your own water weight. This is because your body is not subject to gravity when you are found in water. Therefore, the impact your joints take on when perform swimming workouts is very different from the impact when performing workouts on land. This can sound appealing to people with joint conditions such as arthritis or those currently undergoing physical rehabilitation.

Swimming Increases Libido, reduce stress and Anxiety

Swimming exercises boosts estrogen and testosterone production, thereby increasing fertility and libido. Increase libido benefits include more confidence, higher self-esteem, and enhanced mood. Swimming exercises can be one of the most comforting activities one can take part in to help release stress. It is due to this reason why vacations to beaches and island paradises are popular retreats. It is very relaxing to be in water. Based on the Polish study that was conducted in 2007, it was found that swimming exercises significantly decreased women anxiety and negative states of mood. In as much as other exercises have a roll to play in stress management, performing swimming workouts may have its own special brand of mood-boosting benefits. According to a study published in Pain Research and Management, being engaged in swimming pool exercises reduces the amount of sensory information that bombards your body, helping to bring on feelings of calmness. Also it has been found by most researchers that regular flotation tank sessions are effective at releasing symptoms in patients suffering from conditions linked to chronic stress. Swimming all the time can help in lowering your stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, and enhanceyour sleeping patterns.

Swimming Helps in Maintaining Healthy Lungs

How you breathe during swimming workouts is different compared to when you do workouts on land. It has been noticed that when you are running or you are riding a bike, you exhale forceful because your breath tends to be shallow. This happens to be the other way round when it comes to swimming exercises. In swimming, you breathe in quickly and deeply, letting the air trickle out. Due to the fact that your head is under the water when you are swimming, breathing adjustments are vital and can improve the strength of your respiratory muscles. When you breathe like that when swimming, it keeps the lung alveoli from collapsing and sticking together. Oxygen is at a top when your face is under water and your body trys to adapt to use oxygen more efficiently. It also turns to take in more fresh air with every breath, and send out more carbon dioxide with every exhalation. Studies from Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology have even found that the amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs during relaxed breathing of swimmers is better compared to runners. This shows that the swimmers have lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure and lungs with good performance level.

Swimming lowers disease risk

Not only is swimming healthy to your heart it is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Swimming has also shown to control blood sugar levels, lower the blood pressure and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. So when you swim regularly, you are less likely to develop illnesses.

Swimming Maintains a Healthy Weight  

Swimming pool exercises might not be the exercises you will think of doing when you are looking to shape up and slim down but perhaps they are the best you can ever imagine. No other workouts burn calories, boost metabolism, and make every muscle in your body firm without placing stress on your joints better than swimming workouts. To get a perfect body shape you do not have to be an Olympic gold medalist before you get it. A research in Indiana University was meant to compare recreational fitness swimmers with non-swimmers. After the research, it was realized that swimmers of all ages had more lean muscle and trimmer waists and hips. The body-shaping swimming benefits workouts are the result of a perfect storm of calories break down and muscle recruitment. Swimming for weight loss takes a strong swim effort in order to burn about 700 calories in an hour while an easy swim effort to maintain shape can burn about 500 calories. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, each push, kick and pull is like a small resistance workout for your whole body especially around your shoulders, core, arms, hips, and glutes. So in addition to burning calories as you go on swimming exercises, you are building a lean muscle, which kindles your metabolism so that you burn more calories once you have showered and dried off. The good thing is that while swimming makes you lean, it also gives you a healthy body and helps you stay younger than your actual age. Most scientists say that, even right up until your 70th birthday, swimming exercises affects a person’s blood pressure, cardiovascular performance, cholesterol levels, central nervous system health, muscle mass, cognitive functioning and blood chemistry to be much more alike to that of the person younger self. Swimming exercise is great for fitness and muscle tone, but if you swim for weight loss, you have to do it on a regular basis. Most people still find it difficult to belief that swimming is a lousy way to achieve weight loss. Swimming for weight loss can be explained based on the following parameters.

Buoyancy effect of water: Compared to land based exercises, swimming involves some flotation that might reduce the work you have to do in order to move your body along. This is particularly applicable for people who carry a bit of body fat that increases buoyancy. When swimming, you have to work against the drag effect of the water on the body and if you are not having an efficient stroke, then the energy you use in swimming might increase too. The studies from the University of Western Australia academic and the study by Kay Cox both agrees that there are some possible drawbacks in swimming to shape the waistline. Professor Kay Cox led a study in 2010 of inactive older healthy women who took up swimming workouts and compared them to those who took up workouts on land. The conclusion of the study was that swimming is good for anyone who wants to lose weight. This is because after a year on the program, the swimmers had lost extra weight and more off their waistlines compared to those on the walking program. Swimming for weight loss is good for people who wants to take the load off their joints compared to running or walking and for those who want to avoid injuries from other sport.

Cool water and desire for food: When it comes to Swimming for weight loss, it is the cool environment in the swimming pool that can partly explain why most swimmers have the edge when it comes to weight loss. Ironically, cool water can also explain why most swimmers find fat hard to move. The cool environment has an impact on the body after the swimming in that, it affects the swimmers desire for food and the energy the swimmer pay out to restore their normal body temperature.

Have a good swimming technique: When it comes to swimming for weight loss, you have to be able to swim well enough in order to accomplish that. Compared to workouts on land, swimming workouts requires a little help and guidance. If you cannot swim very well to keep going, then you cannot burn the calories in your body and you will instead feel more exhausted and give it away. But somebody with a more basic swimming skills who can swim for about 10 to 12 meters without stopping, can develop the shape he wants. In order to have a good swimming skill, you can hire the service of a couch or take up some of the stroke improvement lessons that are being offered by most swim centres. There are a lot of swimming benefits, particularly for people who are fat. The overweight people can easily grab these swimming benefits due to the fact that swimming exercises are not that painful compared to other land exercises. However, the best exercise for weight loss is the one you will stick at it and do it frequently with happiness.

Based on the above health benefit of swimming you can see that in order to stay fit and maintain a healthy life then regular swimming exercises is very necessary.

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