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What Are the Benefits of Swimming for Women?

author image Judy Bruen
Judy Bruen is a private certified personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds dual master's degrees from Boston College in clinical social work and pastoral ministry. She currently works with individuals on fitness, health and lifestyle goals.
What Are the Benefits of Swimming for Women?
Swimming provides women with low-impact exercise. Photo Credit: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images

A body of water provides multiples avenues for exercise. Swimming, walking, aerobics and resistance training are all examples of water routines that build strength and burn calories while providing women with an effective workout. Swimming is a full-body exercise that utilizes, strengthens and tones major muscle groups within a woman's body.

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Builds Cardiovascular Endurance

Swimming places high demand on the heart and the lungs, improving and strengthening cardiovascular functioning. Strong lungs improve oxygen transport to the cells and muscles throughout a woman's body. The more efficient and effective the lungs become, the easier breathing becomes during swimming and other modes of exercise. Increasing cardiovascular endurance contributes to higher calorie expenditure and increases in exercise duration and intensity. Swimming strengthens a woman's heart, helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels while lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Provides Low-Impact Exercise

According to the Bucknell University Athletic Department, the body is 90 percent buoyant when submerged in water. For example, when a woman jogs in the pool, only 10 percent of her body weight is experiencing impact. Swimming protects the joints from high-impact movements, such as the pounding and bouncing that are common during running or other land activities. Swimming is a smart exercise choice for women with osteoporosis, a disease that renders bones brittle and weak. According to the National Women's Health Information Center, women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. Water activities provide a low-impact workout for women who have weak bones and joints without compromising their health.

Challenges the Muscles

The Bucknell University Athletic Department reports that exercising in water provides the body with 12 to 14 percent more resistance than when exercising on land. As a result, a woman burns a high number of calories while she's exercising in the water and constantly using her leg and arm muscles to propel her forward. In conjunction with the two weekly strength training sessions recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, swimming builds muscle tone, strength and endurance in the core, upper and lower body. Additionally, consistent water resistance protects the muscles from sudden quick or jerky movements often associated with injury during a workout.

Eases Exercise Difficulties During Pregnancy

Since women are mostly buoyant while swimming, pregnant women may be more comfortable exercising in water than on land. Improvements in muscular strength and oxygen efficiency may ease the challenges of labor and will help a woman's lungs deliver oxygen effectively to her baby. Swimming may lower stress levels and anxiety experienced during pregnancy. The Baby Center reports that swimming may help women sleep better and empower women to deal with psychological and physical challenges associated with pregnancy.

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