Last Updated on June 9, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
One of the most effective forms of exercise is swimming. Treading water has potential to enhance your physical and mental health while being a fun activity – at least according to my children. Personally, I love to swim. I just can’t get to the pool as often as I’d like. However, I think I am going to push hard to get more swimming in this year. The benefits to health just simply cannot be ignored.
Why Should You Swim More Often?
As I said before, swimming can enhance both your physical and mental attributes. It’s one of the few activities that you can do for extended periods of time with superior calorie burn. Here are eight reasons why you should get a few laps in every day.
- Superior Cardio Workout
Swimming is one of the most effective forms of cardio workouts that any one can do. Even if you can’t swim all that well, simply being in the water has potential to burn more calories than walking. Most of this is because your body is using a wider range of muscles to keep balanced, move about and prevent you from drowning. The more you move, the greater the workout becomes.
- Muscle Toning
Water offers great resistance when you swim. This means that it takes greater amounts of strength in order to keep yourself moving about the pool. This resistance is responsible for toning muscle mass while improving your overall strength. It’s much the same reason why people will attach weights to their hands or ankles when working out. The resistance of the water forces the same kind of constant flexing as those weights.
- Reducing Muscle Reaction Time
Resistance doesn’t merely add into defining muscles. It can also reduce reaction time. In other words, various parts of your body will begin to move faster in every day activities. For example, I use 1.5 pound weighted gloves on my hands when playing tennis. After a couple of weeks, my serves are much faster than before without the gloves. This is because my body has grown accustomed to the added weight. This is a similar result when you routinely swim.
- Building Stamina
A boost to stamina can be greatly beneficial in a plethora of daily activities. Swimming can help you increase that aspect of your life. Virtually any cardio activity can help with boosting stamina, but I’ve found that swimming offers the greatest results. It’s akin to walking, running or jogging. The biggest difference from these activities is that swimming can be sustained for a greater duration of time.
- Keeping the Body Cool
Unlike running and other cardio activities, it’s easier to manage the body’s core temperature while in the water. It serves to help keep your body cool which will prevent heat exhaustion as well as heat stroke – two things that I am extremely prone to thanks to my naturally high temperature. You’ll lose less water while working out which will also keep you hydrated better. All of this plays into sustaining the workout longer than if you were doing other activities.
- Blood Flow to the Brain
In reality, any cardio activity can be beneficial for the brain. It increases the amount of blood and oxygen which can play a part in emotions, reasoning and memory improvement. When you swim, there is a greater degree of blood flow as a large portion of your body is in constant motion. This increases the heart rate to high-sustainable levels giving the rest of the body what it needs to operate efficiently.
- Superior Calorie Burn
Swimming is one of the most efficient forms of calorie burn. Because so many muscles are moving in tandem, your entire body works to burn as much as possible in order to tread water. The body will begin to break down fats and carbs much faster in order to keep the muscles moving. Depending on the type of swimming you do, it’s possible to burn as much as three-times that of walking or jogging while spending the same amount of time in the pool.
- Low Impact
Another aspect that makes swimming superior is the fact that it’s a low-impact activity. Unlike jogging or running, the joints are not constantly subjected to jarring. This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s an excellent activity for those who are getting up there in age. For instance, there are days when my knee just isn’t feeling up to a mile walk, but I could easily swim without hurting myself. Those who have arthritis will relish in this activity as they can improve health without subjecting themselves to greater pain.
- Easy to Do
Swimming is one of the abilities most humans can do from birth. Even if you can’t do a breast stroke or keep your head above water in the 12-foot area, you can still get a hell of a workout. Recently, my wife has been getting into water jogging. Essentially, this is jogging in the pool instead of swimming. The resistance of the water alone vastly increases the workout. It’s harder than you think to get yourself up to speed when your legs are fighting against water pressing against the mass of your body.
While the most obvious purpose of swimming is to keep yourself from drowning, it’s one of the best exercises you can do for a variety of reasons. If you have the money and the area on your property, investing in a pool could be a worthy investment into your health. Get in the water more often. Regardless of your size, swimming can fine-tune your body and begin enhancing your overall fitness.