The Many Benefits of Swimming!

Written by: Elsie Velazquez cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)

When we think of doing cardio, generally what comes to mind is walking, biking, hiking, and jogging.  Swimming is not always the first activity that comes to mind.  It should be!  Swimming is an excellent way to work your entire body and cardiovascular system. An hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running.  The reason you burn so many calories swimming is that you are working every muscle in your body to move your body against the resistance of the water.  This work against water resistance keeps your heart rate up and provides a great strength workout without impact on the body.  Swimming provides so many benefits – some are obvious but others are not.  I will be detailing some of the benefits below.

Benefit #1      

Due to the fact that if you are not in constant motion you will sink and your muscles are under constant resistance, swimming counts as both cardio and strength training. 

Benefit #2

Impact on the body is low when swimming.  This makes it an excellent choice when recovering from an injury.  Less impact also means you can go higher intensity regularly without impacting your joints.  In fact, you can swim on your “recovery’ day because it is easy on the body.

Benefit #3

Swimming is great for your lungs.  Swimming forces the body to use oxygen more efficiently.  Your body takes in more fresh air and expels more carbon dioxide.  Swimming usually impacts (positively) resting heart rates and lowers blood pressure.

Benefits #4

You will become a better runner by incorporating more swimming into your exercise routine.  This is because swimming increases your endurance capacity.   

Benefits #5

While all forms of exercise induce endorphins, getting a good swim session in will offer more mood-boosting endorphins.  Simply being in the water dulls the amount of sensory information that bombards your body and mind.  This helps bring on feelings of calm.

Benefit #6

Want to look younger than your age?  Add swimming to your routine.  Research shows that because swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardio performance, central nervous system health, muscle mass, etc., regular swimmers look younger than their stated age.

Benefit #7

Swimming works muscles that are ordinarily underworked.  Muscles such as your lats, delts, and traps that you don’t use often when sitting at your desk all day or running or riding your bike.

Benefit #8

Swimming will improve flexibility unlike machines the machines you use at the gym that isolate areas of the body.  Swimming improves flexibility because you are using fluid movements and it helps to stretch out and elongate your body with every stroke.

Now you know why you should consider swimming…so many benefits…all you need to do is find the time! If you have any questions or concerns please contact one of our fitness professionals at info@prescription-fitness.com.