Swimming: Low Impact, Fun, and Surprisingly Good For You

The world of health and wellness is very crowded. New diet trends, “revolutionary” workout routines, diet supplements … you can get lost in the ever shifting, ever changing world that is your health. Our word of advice? Filter out the static and stick to the tried and true classics. Case in point: swimming.

Swimming is the unheralded queen of aerobic exercise. Whether it’s a backyard pool, a full-scale Olympic facility at a local community center, or a natural water source, swimming is a fantastic thing. It’s a staple in most successful workout regimens. Why? Well we’re getting to that. Today on Healthversed, we don our bathing suits and dive in to the healthy world of swimming. Cannonball!

Low Impact

“Low Impact” is a term us health nuts throw around quite a bit. It’s basically just a fancy way of saying that a specific workout is easy on the joints. Think walking, cycling, the elliptical and, obviously, swimming!

So yes, swimming is a low impact workout option. But more than that, water makes you buoyant, giving your back, knees, and feet a much-needed reprieve from the pressure of supporting your entire body. After all, you are floating!

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It’s Great for Seniors

Hopefully, we’ll all live long, fulfilling, and healthy lives of exercise, laughs, and broccoli. As you get older, certain exercises get more difficult. Knee pain may keep your running shoes locked in the closet. And, though there are outliers, I doubt you’ll be doing box jumps and dead lifts well in to your 70’s. Word of advice, fall in love with swimming now. It’s a great habit to nurture early on in life and it’s one that you can enjoy well into your twilight years.

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It’s Refreshing

Much like a cold glass of lemonade, a dip in the pool can be incredibly refreshing in the peak of summer. It’s why we flock to the beach in August. And, it’s why we let our “friend with the pool” get away with things that our pool-less friends wouldn’t dare try. It may feel unnatural. You know, working out and feeling good doing it. But that’s what makes swimming as exercise so rewarding. It’s fun, practical, and oh so refreshing.

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It’s Inexpensive

We’re clearly not talking about pool ownership here. Owning a pool can be pricey and maintaining it can take a lot of work. No, I’m talking about swimming memberships at community centers and the like. Most cities offer recreational swimming memberships that are a fraction of the cost of pricey group classes or memberships to boutique gyms. And that’s not even considering natural bodies of water which are, for the most part, absolutely free. Now that’s a price tag that this writer can get behind.

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Lots of Variations

If you’ve ever watched national swimming competitions then you’re probably well aware of the wide array of techniques that swimming offers. Back stroke, front stroke, doggy paddle (not recommended) … there are so many swimming variations! Alternating your swimming technique is a great way to target different muscle groups and keep your workout feeling fresh. There’s always room to improve. There are always new techniques to learn. And, I’m sure we can all find a few calories to burn too.

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It Burns Calories

Well, yeah. Obviously. Everything you do burns calories. Heck, even sitting on the couch burns roughly 68 calories per hour. But, unlike sitting on the couch, swimming burns a whole lot of calories. Now, how many calories you burn in a given swimming session largely depends on your level of intensity. For example, a 155-pound person swimming freestyle for an hour at a moderate intensity level can expect to burn roughly 700 calories. That is a serious workout. And, it’ll only take an hour! That said, don’t push yourself too hard. Unless you have water wings.

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Great Way to Shake Up Your Tired Routine

This. So much this. Is your current workout routine feeling more like a routine and less like a workout? Than it may be time to switch it up. And, what better way than to incorporate a little bit of swimming! Swimming can be incredibly challenging and rewarding, especially if you’re new to the sport. It’ll also break up that Spin Class-Jogging-Spin Class routine that you’ve been plugging away at for the last six weeks. Variety is the spice of life!

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Flexibility

As you get older, flexibility, mobility, and low-impact exercise become more and more important. Luckily, swimming checks off all of these boxes! Especially flexibility. Not only does swimming ease lower back pain and build core strength, but it can improve the range of motion in your arms and legs, and increase your overall flexibility. It may be important to temper your expectations. Swimming isn’t going to turn you into a gymnast overnight. But, keep at it and you should notice some significant progress.

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It’s Efficient

The hustle and bustle of the modern grind is busy enough. Add a two-hour cardio-and-weight-lifting workout to the mix? Good luck! Thankfully, we at Healthversed like to offer solutions to problems. Today’s solution – experience an incredible cardiovascular workout with low-impact weight resistance at the same time. That’s right. A regular swimming regimen can both improve cardio and build strength. So, you do have time to work out. Unless … you know … you have a better excuse.

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Full Body Workout

If you’ve ever spent 30 minutes grinding out laps at your local community center than this benefit should come as no surprise. Swimming works your core, your lower back, your arms, your legs, your mind — it tackles EVERYTHING at once!  Which is great for anyone intimidated by the various muscle group specific machines available are most gyms. Those are great for targeting specific areas, but if you’re just looking to feel better and build your overall performance, swimming is certainly a simple and effective work out option.

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Great for Your Lungs

Face it, swimming is good for everything, especially your lungs. Data suggests that a regular swimming workout regimen can actually increase an individual’s lung capacity when compared to other, similar forms of exercise. It even beat out running! The study suggests that swimming could help you develop a wider chest and, in turn, increase your lung capacity. In fairness to running, all exercise is a good thing. If your knees and attention span can handle it, run your heart out.

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Safe During Pregnancy

For many, pregnancy is seen as a nine month hold on any and all exercise routines. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As it turns out, swimming is not only safe during pregnancy, it’s actually encouraged! A regular swimming routine will help improve your blood circulation and ease the joint pain caused by extra baby weight. And don’t worry about the chlorine. It’s relatively safe for you and the littler you.

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Great for Injury Rehabilitation

Low-impact strength training is on the menu for most rehabilitation regimens. Swimming fits the bill tenfold. When one of us injured our knee playing hockey, the doctor recommended swimming as a great way to build up strength without the risk of re-injury. There’s no sense in sitting idle waiting to heal when you can make measurable daily progress in the swimming pool. As always, consult your doctor or physiotherapist to make sure you can handle the extra work load.

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It’s Calms the Mind

Much like running, there’s something meditative about the repetitive motions of swimming. We’ve talked a lot about the physical benefits of swimming. It’s full body, low impact and refreshing, sure. But we’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t finish off our list with arguably swimming’s most important aspect.

Exercise is just as important for your body as it is for your mind. It’s all about finding a pursuing a new challenge and finding something that you enjoy. So, if running isn’t your bag or yoga’s too slow, give swimming a try. Just once. You just may fall in love with it.

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Jun 26, 2017