Here one of our fitness instructors gives you the health benefits of swimming and why swimming is such great exercise
Swimming helps reduce the risk of chronic illness such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It also helps boost mood and keep weight under control.
When the human body is submerged in water it becomes lighter. When immersed up to waist depth, your body bears just 50% of its weight. Immerse to chest depth and that reduces to 25 -35%, with water all the way to the neck you only have to bear 10% of your own weight. This means the pool provides an ideal place to work stiff muscles and sore joints, especially if you’re overweight or suffer from arthritis, stroke or any other joint or muscle condition. Pool exercises provide aerobic exercise along with strengthening and stretching the muscles. This helps joints, muscles and ligaments stay loose and flexible.
When the pool is heated it is so much better as warm water helps to loosen stiff joints, and muscles stretch and work better when warm.
Swimming is a great way to increase muscular strength and tone. When exercising out of water you have to move your body through the air, when swimming you have to propel yourself through water – a substance about 12 times as dense as air. This means that every kick and arm stroke becomes a resistance exercise.
Swimming has also been shown to improve bone strength especially in post-menopausal women.
Because swimming is an aerobic exercise it serves to strengthen the heart, not only helping it to become stronger but making it more efficient in pumping which leads to better blood flow throughout your body. It is also shown that aerobic exercise can combat the body’s inflammatory response including reducing water retention problems especially in legs, which is a key link in the chain that can lead to heart disease.
Swimming is recognised as one of the biggest calorie burning activities and so is great for keeping weight under control. Lowering weight can help with many long term conditions and or to prevent them even starting. These include Type 2 Diabetes, Arthritis, Stroke, Heart Attacks, MS, ME, fatigue conditions and many more. If weight can be lowered then usually cholesterol and blood pressure are lowered which are the main factors for heart attack and strokes. By lowering body weight less strain is placed on all major joints especially, back, hip and knee joints which can help with the symptoms of arthritis and many mobility problems.
Swimming is excellent for asthma sufferers – working out in the moist air environment of the swimming pool helps to reduce exercise induced asthma symptoms. Some studies have shown that swimming can actually improve the condition overall.
Even people without asthma could benefit from swimming as the exercise can increase lung volume and teaches proper breathing techniques.
Swimming is very good at lowering stress levels and give higher spirits. It helps to release endorphins in the brain (feel good chemicals). Swimming can also evoke the relaxation response the same way as Yoga works on the body. This is because a large part of swimming is the constant stretching and relaxing of your muscles combined with deep rhythmic breathing. Swimming is also a meditative exercise with the sound of your own breathing and the splash of the water acting as a mantra of sorts that helps to “drown out” all other distractions.