Unlike the repetitive cardio on the treadmill or cycle machine at the gym, swimming offers an alternative form of exercise with health benefits like no other. Swimming is a full-body workout that increases your heart rate with little or no impact on the joints. According to the Center for Disease Control, studies show that swimmers have half the risk of death compared to inactive individuals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, or get a good night’s sleep, know that there’s more to swimming than meets the eye!
Keep reading for 5 reasons to swim for health:
1. Works the entire body
Offering core stability at the heart of the exercise, swimming is one of the best full body exercises for your health. Water requires more work to move through than air, allowing you to build strength while targeting the entire body. The abdominals, biceps, triceps, gluteal, hamstrings, and quadriceps all work together to get the body across the pool. Distinctive strokes highlight different muscle groups involving the complete body at all times.
2. Boost Cardiovascular Health
Swimming is an aerobic exercise that improves lung capacity and strengthens the lungs. Requiring movement of large muscle groups, swimming raises the heart rate continuously for long durations. The advantage of the pools temperature allows people with certain illnesses to exercise without raising their heart rate as high as a person doing the same amount of exercise on dry land.
3. Non-Impact Exercise
In the long term, the wear and tear on joints due to intense cardio can be harsh on the body. Swimming can be a cardio alternative when recovering from injury or even after a hard day at the gym. The buoyant weightlessness of swimming may be viewed as too easy of a workout, but swimming uses more of the body’s major muscle groups than any other cardio exercise. The low impact of swimming means it can be done continuously for long hours as well as consistently throughout the week.
4. Sleep better and feel better
50-70 million Americans have sleep difficulties meaning tiredness, diabetes, depression, and obesity are on the rise. To combat these issues, swimming can offer a good night’s rest. Lack of sleep can have devastating consequences on your health. However recent studies show that swimming can help you sleep better by relaxing your mind and body. Similar to yoga, swimming can improve sleep habits by relieving emotional and physical stress.
5. It’s a good burn
While a 160 lb. person walking for one hour at 3.5 miles/hour would burn 314 calories, the same person swimming at a low pace for one hour would burn 423 calories. Swimming burns calories efficiently without breaking a sweat. Consistently swimming and elevating your heart rate can be an effective form of weight loss. Swimming boosts your metabolism even after washing off and leaving the pool.
Swimming is one of the best activities to make into a healthy habit. Grab a swim cap, suit, and a pair of goggles today to make a positive change in your lifestyle for good.
Christin Lee is a yoga instructor, entrepreneur, and lifestyle blogger living in NYC with a passion for universal human rights. She currently writes for InsiderEnvy site focused on travel, health, and eye care.