Water is regarded as the most relaxing medium that helps in alleviating body aches and pains, while inducing a state of calmness and tranquility. Swimming is a form of physical activity that helps the muscles to work against water resistance and since water is far denser than air, swimming is superior to all traditional gym exercises in terms of calorie expenditure, muscle toning and overall fitness. There are so many health benefits of swmming.
10 Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is a preferred for any physiological and pathological state. Pregnant mommies, elderly, young, athletic or sedentary can significantly benefit from swimming. Here are a few additional benefits of swimming:
1. Low Impact
Individuals with long standing muscle and joint issues can greatly benefit from swimming as a potential physical and physiological activity. Water submersion helps in decreasing the pressure on spine that allow muscles, joints and tissues to function independently or in collaboration with other architectural units. If you have arthritis or other inflammatory conditions of bone, swimming may be a soothing alternative to high impact gym exercises.
2. Muscle Building and Toning
Most workouts (traditional gym workouts) deals mainly with certain group of muscles like biceps, triceps, deltoid and hamstrings (or other larger group of muscles). But, this greatly affects the functioning of smaller group of muscles that protect and support joints and bones, which results in weaker muscles and a higher risk of tissue injury. Swimming exerts equal stress and strain on all muscle groups that helps in strengthening and toning of entire musculoskeletal system.
3. Improved Flexibility
Inside water, the bones and joints are in a more relaxed state and the range of motion is much higher that allows the swimmer to move his limbs at wider angles (that is not otherwise possible). The broad range of motion keeps ligaments and joints loose and flexible.
4. Weight Control
Swimming is a fun sport and not considered a traditional weight loss therapy or exercise that increases the compliance of individuals. Research indicates that a swimmer is able to lose more than 516 calories in one hour (as compared to only 310 with intense one hours jog on treadmill). Swimming enables all muscles of the body to work in synchrony that helps in facilitating weight loss and shaping of body.
5. Healthier Heart
Most cardiac patients are advised not to perform strenuous physical activity due to risk of cardiac overloading and changes in the blood pressure. However, since swimming exerts more pressure on limbs than on heart, it is an ideal activity for patients with heart problems. It has also shown that aerobic exercise leads arteries to expand and contract. In one study, swimmers in their sixties were found to have equal endothelium (thin layer of cells in the arteries) to 30 to 40-year-old swimmers.
6. Balancing Cholesterol Level
Swimming is a physiological workout that helps in utilizing fat stores for the generation of energy. It increases calorie expenditure and energy generation that is almost 3 to 5 times higher than that of traditional gym and jogging. The aerobic power from swimming has been proven to raise HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels and lower LDL ("bad" cholesterol) levels. And every 1% increase in HDL level can lower the risk of death from heart disease by 3.5%.
7. Improved Asthma Condition
As swimming increases the rate and depth of breathing it is also known to improve asthma condition. Since most asthmatics are not physically fit to workout in closed and compact gym space and high impact exercises are also known to induce the attack of asthma, swimming is a preferred fitness option for all asthmatics.
8. Lowered Diabetes Risk
Swimmers workout all their muscles and tend to have less fat stores, a factor that helps in improving the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and decreasing the risk of diabetes mellitus. If you are diabetic, swimming is more relaxing for your body as compared to gym exercises and does not induce an attack of hypoglycemia readily; however, if you are suffering from any medical condition (like diabetes or cardiac illness) it is always desirable to speak to your healthcare provider whether swimming is good for you and how long can you swim in water.
9. Refreshing Your Brain
Swimming under water requires a deeper respiratory effort that increases the rate, rhythm and depth of breathing that improves blood and tissue oxygenation. Higher the level of blood oxygen, higher will be the perfusion to tissues. Benefits of swimming are not just these. Researchers suggest that swimming may also help in improving cognition, intelligence and intellect in sedentary workers.
10. Increased Circulation
Besides the above benefits of swimming, it also promotes healthy circulation by mobilizing all the limbs and major/minor groups of muscles. This promotes healthy circulation by increasing the venous return to heart as a result of lower limb activity. Moreover, since your limbs move as propellers, the lymphatic drainage also increases which helps decrease pain, discomfort and swelling of joints and tissues.