Swimming fitness is one of the best low impact exercises for overall fitness and mental well being. It has many health benefits which can be enjoyed at any age.
Principle reasons for swimming to be regarded as an excellent fitness activity are as follows:
Swimming provides a great Aerobic Workout: The cardiovascular benefits of swimming are considered to be similar to land-based exercises such as running and cycling.
Works out all major muscle groups: Swimming is one of the few exercises that actually works out all major muscle groups. Due to the resistance of water, every stroke and kick will help tone your muscles.
Improves and Maintains Flexibility: Compared to land-base activities, swimming is a great exercise to improve and maintain joint flexibility. The neck, shoulders and mid section (spine) are the three major regions which benefit mostly from swimming due to the repetitive bio-mechanical movements of the different swimming strokes.
Exercise Joints without stress: In water the human body is 70-80% lighter than in air, therefore making the body buoyant. As a result of the fact that the water is supporting the body and gravity is less of an issue, the joints can work through their full cycle of motions without the stress incurred during land-based exercise. This is particularly beneficial for people who have chronic back or joint problems and people with weight issues, whose excess weight makes mobility difficult to participate in land based activities.
Please consult your doctor before undertaking any physical activity if you suffer from any serious physical ailment.
Pregnancy: Swimming is an ideal way to exercise during pregnancy. Women gain an average of 12 kgs during Pregnancy and as a result, muscles and posture are seriously overworked and put under strain. Due to the fact that swimming relieves the body of 70-80% of it’s weight whilst in the water, it is a great way to momentarily alleviate many of the aches and pains on your body caused by carrying a child. In addition, swimming is an great form of cardiovascular exercise which will improve your overall health and fitness and this can be beneficial for the birthing process.
Rehabilitation: When recovering from injury, swimming is considered one of the best activities to participate in. The human body is made up of 90% water and as a result it’s density is very similar to water, making it a great low impact activity. Many land-based activities place too much strain on injured joints so
Physiotherapists include swimming as a tool to aid in the recovery of injuries. It is common practice for professional sporting teams to use water as a means for recovery after the labour of physical competition.
Always consult your doctor or physiotherapist before embarking on a physical activity whilst recovering from any sort of injury or health ailment.
Stimulates Muscle growth: Swimming is a great exercise to stimulate muscle growth due to the resistance working against water. Obviously swimming is not comparable to a weights program because you cannot isolate individual muscle groups, but if you are looking to build natural muscle growth and strength without having to lift heavy weights and without straining your muscles, then swimming is ideal.
Stress Relief: Due to the fact that swimming is an activity which requires repetitive rhythmic strokes, extended periods of time floating with the sensation of weightlessness you may find that swimming can become as beneficial for stress relief as meditation. Many people use swimming to help then unwind, de-stress and relax. I find that during a swim, I have time to think about issues without distractions and it is a perfect way to end a hectic day.