8 Reasons To Fit Swimming Into Your Workout
Swimming is not always the first physical activity that springs to mind when we plan our fitness regime. Yet it is the one activity that can deliver optimal results with minimal risk of injury and without filling up chunks of time in your daily schedule.
The cooler months are also a good time to switch your workout around especially if you can already see yourself ditching your usual early morning or evening runs. Heated pools are common in most fitness centers and the water will help warm up your muscles quicker than stretches in a cold park would.
Here are woman with drive’s eight reasons to incorporate swimming into your fitness regime this season.
#1: It ticks the cardio and strength training boxes
Whether you are powering across the pool or making your way to the opposite end in long leisurely strokes, you are in constant movement and that equates to a cardio workout. And because water is 800 times denser than air, your muscles are pushing past constant resistance and building its strength. This also means that you no longer have to schedule separate cardio and strength training sessions, and can cut back on your workout time.
#2: It provides low-impact exercise
The human body is 90 percent buoyant when submerged in water, which makes swimming perfect for women with weak bones and joints. Even women without these restrictions can protect their body from the high-impact movement that usually accompanies other land activities.
#3: It improves flexibility
Water is an excellent medium for increasing flexibility as it puts the whole body through a broad range of motion that keeps the joints and ligaments loose and flexible. These motions include the arms moving in wide arcs, the hips loosening with each kick and the spine and neck twisting from side to side. Each stroke also lengthens the body and gives it a good long stretch.
#4: It strengthens the heart and lungs
When you hold your breath under water, your body instinctively adapts to taking in more oxygen with every inhalation, use it more efficiently and expel more carbon dioxide with every exhalation. Swimmers have also been found to have more air moving in and out of their lungs when they are relaxed which lowers the resting heart rate and blood pressure.
As a form of cardio, swimming expands the heart and increases its efficiency in pumping blood through the body. It has also been found to lower blood pressure and the possibility of coronary heart disease.
#5: It makes you a better runner
If running a marathon is one of your 2016 goals, then you better get in the pool now. Because swimming teaches your lungs to use oxygen more effectively, it also significantly increases your endurance capacity, which will enable you to run faster and for longer without getting winded. Swimming also strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, core and shoulders – all the body parts that make you a better runner.
#6: It keeps your body young
According to research from Indiana University, regular swimmers are biologically 20 years younger than their age. Swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to that of your younger self.
#7: It pays attention to neglected muscles
You would be surprised at how many muscles in your arms, core and lower back go unused on a daily basis. Because the arms are a main component in swimming, your deltoids (the muscles on the top most part of your shoulders) and trapezius (the muscles that move the head and shoulder) get a great workout. Also, balancing and staying level in the water helps develop the deep stabilizing muscles of your core and lower back which is especially important for women.
#8: It improves mental health
Swimming is known to be a meditative exercise because of the repetitive movements. The silence under water and the feeling of weightlessness can alleviate stress and have a calming effect on the mind. Swimming also boosts endorphins that increase the feeling of wellbeing and has been found to produce the same relaxation as yoga.
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