Swimming is an incredible form of exercise, but it can be a little bit less accessible compared to running and walking. After all, you need to find a pool that's supervised by a lifeguard and know a few different strokes to get a dynamic (and safe) workout in.
While it may take a bit more preparation than other exercises, swimming provides unique benefits that some other activities, like walking and biking, can not offer.
1. A good workout exercise
Yes, swimming is a full-body cardio workout unlike some other endurance activities. You pull your body through the water by using your muscles in the arms (biceps and triceps) while the muscles in your shoulders (deltoids) and back (latissimus dorsi) give your stroke more power and speed. Your core keeps your body streamlined and hydrodynamic, while muscles in your glutes and legs are active when you kick, propelling you forwards.
There are also ways in swimming to increase resistance and make your muscles stronger the same way that lifting weights provide. For one, the use of paddles on the hands increases water resistance and builds a stronger, more efficient stroke.
To start off your swimming routine as exercise, you may need to use several gears and equipment. Check out our water sports collection for some premium gears you can use to maximize your swimming experience.
2. A way to meditate
Some people find it meditative when doing a repetitive, rhythmic activity while immersed in water. They call it mindful swimming.
This requires being fully present in the water and then focusing on breathing and stroke mechanics. Listening to the sounds of swimming and practicing gratitude can also provide additional mental health benefits.
Mindful practices and activities help people manage stress, cope with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. People who practice mindfulness also report a stronger ability to relax, greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.
3. Reduce body fat
Combined with a healthy diet, regular swimming workouts help improve body composition (ratio of muscle to fat). It is more so in vigorous swimming which provides the greatest benefit compared to casual water workouts.
A 2015 study published found that when middle-aged women swam vigorously for 60 minutes, three times a week for 12 weeks, their body fat dropped by almost 3 percent. The swimmers also demonstrated improved flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and blood lipids.
4. A safe, low-impact workout
Most of the popular contact sports and individual athletic activities carry a certain risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Bruises and wounds from other players’ equipment, bone fractures and even more serious injuries.
In swimming, the likelihood of these types of injuries is lesser due to it being a low-impact exercise. Moving in water reduces the effect of body weight through buoyancy, according to a 2015 review of the sports.
Swimming isn't a risk-free sport though. Depending on the intensity you swim at, you could experience tendonitis in your biceps or a tear in your rotator cuff. Swimming in pools, and other recreational water facilities also carry a risk of drowning or exposure to communicable diseases—aka infectious diseases—that can be spread from one person to another through blood, bodily fluids or airborne pathogens.
However, it is important to note that careful pool and spa safety regulations and proper water gears can substantially decrease these risks. For more safety gears on your next water adventure, you may check out our shop.
5. Improve your blood pressure levels
Aside from lowering blood pressure levels, swimmers may also decrease the risk of triglycerides, better their insulin sensitivity, experience fewer mood disorders and reduce risk of upper respiratory tract infections.