Health Benefits of Swimming

Swimming can offer anyone of any age a huge range of health benefits. You might just feel and look younger, have stronger muscles, and (according to a long time swimmer) better hair. Although you might not have awesome, shiny and chlorine enriched hair, you can find at least ten other reasons to swim.

Swimming gives your body the workout minus the harsh impacts. Another awesome benefit is the living longer factor. You prolong your life and have higher brain activity with a regular swimming program. Control your weight and have a healthier heart plus lower your risk of diabetes, stop asthma symptoms and have a higher quality of life.


Living Longer

Swimming has been proven to be the fountain of youth. The University of South Carolina surveyed and studied 40,000 men for more that thirty-two years. This study found those men who swam regularly had a fifty percent lower death than their non-swimming peers. Following 40,000 men for over 32 years old is a very impressive study. With those types of numbers, swimming is definitely becoming more attractive.

Exercise Stronger

You can work your body in a swimming pool without high impact to your bones and muscles. As you submerge in water you automatically become pounds lighter. If you are immersed just to the waist your body bears only 50% of your weight. Sink to your neck and let the water bear up to 90% of your body weight. How awesome is this! While you are partially submerged, do aerobic exercises. Take a water aerobics class. If you are stiff and sore in muscles and joints or if you are overweight and suffer from arthritis, water is the perfect place to exercise.

That Arthritis Foundation suggests that stretching and strengthening muscles in a pool brings on quick relief. Try swimming a few laps in the pool, do aerobics and see how great you feel. One young lady with rheumatoid arthritics claimed she was pain free when in the water.

Swim and exercise in a heated pool and the warm water will help arthritis sufferers loosen up tight and stiff joints. Those with rheumatoid arthritis do receive huge benefits to health when they swim and participate in hydrotherapy. Swimming also reduces the pain of osteoarthritis.

Stress Reduction and Brain Building

No one in the world is immune from stress and everyone needs to build brain power. As you merrily swim laps and do water aerobics you are also gaining the advantage of feel-good chemicals releasing throughout your body. These endorphins are one of swimming’s happiest side effects. You can relax, enjoy a “natural high” and feel good all at the same time. Swimming brings on the relaxation response that is also found in yoga class. The constant stretching and relaxing of muscles combined with rhythmic deep breaths is the key. Mediate as you swim laps with only the sound of your own breathing circling your brain. The splash of the water acts as a chant and drowns out distractions.

Change your brain for the better by hippocampal neurogenesis. If you are stress free or in the process of reducing stress by swimming, the brain is replacing those stressed and dead brain cells. Build stronger brain cells by participating in stress-relieving swimming. “Nothing is better than swimming laps,” states a former high school swimmer. “All the boy problems, the school problems, and the life problems just go away when I am in the pool.”

Control Your Weight

Swimming is one of the most recognized calorie burners around. It is awesome for keeping your weight issues under control. It is difficult to determine the number of calories you burn when swimming; this depends on your own physiology and the intensity you swim. A general rule: for every ten minutes of intense swimming you burn up to 150 calories. Swim the freestyle and burn 100 calories and the backstroke will take away 80 calories. To increase calorie burn utilize interval training in your workout. Work hard for short bursts of time and then rest. Swim fifty yards, rest, swim 100 yards rest, and so on. Keep the pattern going until you can swim up to 300 yards. If you think you will never reach this goal; think again. Swimming tends to come easier than you think.


Muscle Tone Improvements

If you think that swimming is purely recreation, think about the dolphin and competitive swimmers. You have probably never seen a flabby dolphin or a fat competitive swimmer. Swimming is one of the best ways to increase strength plus muscle tone. A physical trainer recommended swimming to an overweight man to improve his stomach line. This man argumentatively said, “I don’t want to change my clothes and get wet.” Oh come on now! When was exercise ever perfectly convenient?

Running might be drier, but when a runner runs around a tract your body is charging through air. A swimmer is propelling through a medium that is ten times denser than air. Every stroke and kick is a resistance exercise. Resistance exercises are the best ways to build up strength and muscle tone. If you are menopausal, swim! It will improve your bone strength.

Yoga-Like Flexibility

Exercise machines only work on one part of your body at a time. Swimming gives you a wide range of motion to keep your joints and ligaments flexible. Your arms move in a wide arch, hips are engaged and legs cut through the water. You also twist your head and spine from side to side as you swim. With every stroke, you are reaching forward and lengthening your body. Body length makes our body more efficient in the water and gives a good stretch from your head down to your toes.

Stretch before and after swimming. The more you swim the more you will be able to balance, be flexible and swim longer. If you want to take a yoga class, your swimming exercises will help you look much more graceful.

Asthma and Swimming

If you have asthma, take up swimming. The moist air gives your lungs a chance to work out in an asthma friendly atmosphere. Lung volume and proper breathing techniques are some of the reasons asthma symptoms disappear with a swimming regimen. If you want you or your child to have a better quality of life without the snoring, mouth breathing and emergency room visits due to the inability to breathe during cold and allergy seasons, take swimming lessons.

Heart Healthy

One of the most important muscles in your body is the heart. Swimming is an aerobic exercise and provides life-giving exercise to the heart. It gives the ability to pump more efficiently which in turn leads to improved blood flow. Aerobic exercises have also been proven to combat the body’s inflammatory responses that lead to heart disease.

It is advised that you exercise at least thirty minutes a day and you can use swimming. If you only swim for thirty minutes per day your coronary heart disease is cut by almost 40%. Blood pressure, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, is also improved by swimming aerobically. Swim away high blood pressure, live longer, and avoid coronary heart diseases.

No More Cholesterol

The perfect ratio of good and bad cholesterols in your blood can be provided with swimming. The aerobic power of swimming will raise HDL (good cholesterol levels). In reverse, the bad cholesterols of LDL will be reduced. For every one percent increase in HDL, the risk of heart disease drops by 3.5 percent.

The thin layers of cells that line your arteries (endothelium) have an easier time remaining flexible when you do aerobic exercises and particularly when you swim. Those in their sixties who work out or participate in aerobic exercise have endothelium functions that are similar to those in their thirties. Arteries expand and contract as you swim and keep their hosts healthy and fit.

Lowers Diabetes Risks

Diabetes is rapidly becoming a disease of epidemic proportions. Nothing works better on relieving diabetic symptoms and the actual disease than aerobic exercise. By burning only 500 calories a week, men reduced diabetes risk by 6%. Only thirty minutes of swimming the breaststroke three times a week would burn up to 900 calories. You now have reduced your type 2 diabetes risk by over 10%. Women could reduce their risk by over 15% with the same aerobic swimming program.

If you already are experiencing type 1 or 2 diabetes, swim to increase insulin sensitivity. The American Diabetes Association urges every diabetic to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity to augment glycemic control.

With the benefits of swimming in mind, hit the pool, bring your friends and family and make it a friendly competition to see who can swim the farthest and healthiest.


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