7 Benefits of Swimming for Fitness

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Swimming is one of the best all over exercises and if you’re fortunate enough to have a pool or even live near one you can do so on a regular/daily basis. If you’re in doubt, then here are seven benefits of swimming.

1. Muscle Definition and strength are improved with swimming.

When you swim, your entire body gains muscle strength. When you’re a runner, for example, you see a significant amount of muscular build-up in the legs, but swimmers utilize more muscle groups while moving through the water with legs kicking and arms pulling. A swimmer’s back reaches and rotates, while his or her stomach tightens to build the legs and the core. Swimming is one of the best aerobic workouts you can give your body, and it is, in fact, a total body workout. Need inspiration? Just look at Michel Phelps!

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2. Bone mass is build-up with swimming.

Researchers, over the many years, have discounted that swimming affects bone mass. They proclaimed that weight-bearing exercises were the only kind that could provide this benefit. However, research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. There are ethical reasons to stay away from in-depth bone examination on humans. So the study puts rats into three groups – running, swimming, and a control group that has no exercise component. Running showed the highest increase in Bone Mineral Density or BMD. Still, swimming also showed BMD benefits as well as femoral bone weight over the control group that contained no exercise component. Yes, more studies are needed, but these studies show that there are bone benefits to swimming.

3. You stay flexible with swimming.

When you swim, you are required to stretch, reach, twist, and pull your way through the water to float. Your ankles turn into “fins” and every time you kick, they are stretched. Should you still stretch on your own? Yes. But repetitive stretching that exists with swimming and the various strokes used helps with flexibility.

4. Inflammation is reduced with swimming.

It’s common knowledge that your cardiovascular system and your heart benefit from swimming, there’s research that shows aerobic activities, such as swimming, reduces inflammation that can lead to atherosclerosis that can build up in the heart.

5. Swimming burns a lot of calories.

Yes, swimming burn calories, we all know that, but do you know that swimming can be just as effective as a workout on the treadmill? Depending on the stoke and the intensity, swimming burns equal or more calories than running.

Plus, there’s no sweat in your eyes. Here’s a breakdown: in 10 minutes of swimming the breaststroke you burn 60 calories; you burn 80 calories with the backstroke; you burn 100 calories with the freestyle, and you burn an incredible 150 calories with the butterfly stroke.

Need some perspective? Running a 10-minute mile burns 100 calories. So, an intense butterfly speed at 30 minutes can burn 150 more calories than if you were to run a 5K in the same amount of time.

6. Exercise-induced asthma is improved with swimming.

Is there anything more frustrating than trying to catch your breath when you exercise? When you work out in dry gym air or when you run with seasonal pollen counts, it can affect you negatively. However, swimming lets you breath moist air while you are doing it. Not only can swimming help with reducing or eliminating asthma symptoms, but it can also improve the overall condition of your lungs.

A recent study showed that children who completed a six-week swimming initiative experienced improvements in asthma, mouth-breathing, snoring, hospitalization, and ER visits. In addition, these benefits still existed a year after the swimming program concluded. Even if you don’t have asthma, you can benefit. Swimming improves overall lung-volume and helps you develop good breathing practices.

7. Stress and depression are lowered with swimming.

Do you love the natural high you get with an endorphin kick? There’s such a thing as a “runner’s high,” but swimming can bring a swimmer’s high, as well.

You can get those happy hormones, but you can also get a relaxing response that is similar to yoga. As mentioned above, swimming stretches the entire body, and it does it continuously as you swim. When you combine this stretching with deep rhythmic breathing, you can experience a swimmer’s high unique to the sport.