Many people want to get into better shape, but are not sure how. Look at it this way: running can be unpleasant, especially if you are prone to shin splints; cycling is hard on the knees; lifting free weights can hardly be described as fun, and not everyone can get into Yoga or Zumba. That leaves the best exercise of them all; one that many people enjoy without even realizing that it is an exercise: swimming.
There are few exercises that are better for your health than swimming. Swimming at full speed burns around 703 calories an hour. This is the reason why Olympic swimmers eat so many calories, yet remain in excellent shape. Besides burning calories, there are many other reasons why you should put on your favorite swimsuit and jump in the water.
Low Impact Exercise
Swimming is a very low impact exercise. If you have bad knees and hips, or even an injured back, then jogging and cardio dance classes are not for you. You will only hurt worse. Instead, an hour of swimming will not harm your joints or back. You will feel some pain, post swim, but that is only your muscles trying to bounce back from your workout.
Water Provides Resistance
This is the reason why swimming burns so many calories. No matter how hard you try to propel yourself forward, the water tries to hold you back. Because of this resistance, your muscles must work harder as you move through the water. Every single part of your body gets a work out, from the top of your shoulders to the tips of your toes. On top of this, thanks to the resistance put forth by the water, you can always lie on your back and float in the water if a break from swimming is in order.
Provides Mental Health Support and Clarity
Tired of working out in the same area as people chatting on their cell phones or blasting their iPods so loud that you can hear their music three treadmills down? Try using electronic devices in the water! Exactly, it cannot be done. The quiet surrounding serious swimmers in the lap pool will give you a chance to enjoy some self-reflection or meditation. As you complete each lap, you will feel your stress melt away and your thoughts begin to clear. Pretty soon, you will feel as peaceful as the blue water that you are swimming through.
Works Most Muscle Groups
Have you ever seen a professional competitive swimmer? If you have, then you know how defined their muscles are. Swimming works your entire body: your legs work to propel you forward and keep you afloat, your arms work to keep your pace on track as well as propel your forward, and your torso (back and abs, otherwise known as your “core”) gets a work out as it stabilizes you in the water.
Swimming is an excellent exercise for those who want to get into great shape. It works many different areas of the body at once, without hurting your legs and knees like a high-impact exercise. If simply swimming laps is not for you, try attending a water aerobics class. On top of that, if you enjoy boating, snorkeling and water sports, then knowing how to swim is necessary for your safety. Can many joggers say that?
Image credit: “Beautiful Woman Smiling In The Pool” by David Castillo Dominici via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/