Swimming is the second most popular sports activity in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. Swimming improves your health in a variety of ways, like decreasing your risk for heart disease, helping you lose weight and maintaining strength and flexibility. Engaging in water sports can also improve your physical well-being by enhancing your mental status.
Swimming is an aerobic exercise, beneficial to cardiovascular health. Just two and a half hours of aerobic exercise, like swimming, reduces your risk for heart disease. Swimming laps helps you lose weight by burning at least 500 calories an hour. Engaging in more vigorous swimming activities, like competitive swimming, will burn more calories each hour. Swimming, like any exercise, helps your cells absorb glucose, lowering your blood sugar.
Swimming is a good muscle-building exercise because the water provides resistance that makes the muscles work harder. Doctors frequently recommend swimming to help injured athletes to stay in shape. Swimming keeps their muscles strong and buoyancy prevents further injury.
Swimming also strengthens postural muscles, or the muscle groups in your torso that enable you to stand erect. While swimming strengthens your arms and legs, it also works your abdominal and back muscles. Swim to strengthen your core muscles enough to support your own weight.
Swimming is an excellent exercise for you, especially if you suffer from a chronic disease like arthritis. You are more buoyant in water, allowing you to move stiff joints while bearing less weight. Additionally, buoyancy frees your body to move in different ways than when you are out of the water, exercising important postural muscles.
Swimming and warm water therapy decrease anxiety and depression while improving the mood of fibromyalgia patients. Swimming in a cool pool is a great way to safely exercise on a hot day, reducing the risk of heat stroke. Family swim sessions instill a life-long passion for exercise and good health in children, as well as giving families an excuse to enjoy time together. Swimming helps develop strength and coordination in children, increasing your child’s chances of continuing healthy exercise patterns for life.
Swimming helps the aging human body because you are able to swim well into your senior years, unlike other forms of exercise better suited to young people. Swimming maintains or even improves bone health in post-menopausal women, according to a study by A. Rotstein of the Wingate Institute. Senior citizens respond positively to swimming by improving exercise habits and decreasing activity of daily living disabilities.
- Census; Participation in Selected Sports Activities; 2008
- Mayo Clinic; Weight Loss: Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour; December 2009
- Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness: The Effect of a Water Exercise Program on Bone Density of Postmenopausal Women; Rotstein A, Harush M, et al.; September 2008