Swimming is probably the last thing you think of for exercise. You loved the pool as a child and then got out of the habit as you aged, maybe because of hair, or maybe because you need to brush up on your stroke game. But it’s time to get wet again. Whether you are recovering from an injury, suffering from arthritis, or perfectly healthy and looking to stay that way, the pool can be perfect for building or maintaining a healthy body. Here’s why you need to get off dry land for your next workout.
The Ultimate In Low Impact Exercise
Swimming is low impact, but still effective, exercise. In the pool, your body is supporting 50-75 percent of its body weight, which means much less pressure on your joints and muscles. That doesn’t make swimming “easy” by any means.
Instead, while you perform resistance moves, swim laps, or other cardio in the pool, you get all the strength and cardio benefits without the muscle and joint pain. If you have an injury or a chronic condition with movement like arthritis, swimming can provide relief and still work you out.
Boost Your Heart Without the Track
It doesn’t take much time or any skillful strokes to get a heart-pumping workout in the pool. Because your entire body is working to keep you afloat or help you move through the water, your heart has to work overtime to pump blood to all your muscles.
If you do swim some laps, or attend a pool workout class (keep reading for more on these), you’ll get even more of the heart-healthy benefits. Studies have shown that people who swim had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and higher energy when compared to runners.
Swim Yourself Skinny In Less Time
If you spend about an hour swimming laps at a moderate pace, you’ll burn more calories than you might running at a similar pace. Researchers have added up that an hour of swimming can melt off up to 1500 calories.
It’s no wonder that the number is so high, since pretty much every single muscle in your body is being used with every stroke through the water. So if you’re pressed for time, that time may be better spent in the water.
Swim On the Low (Or Even for Free)
Swimming does have one disadvantage to walking and running: you have to find a pool (or body of water) to do it, and pool memberships can be pricey. Fortunately, your city may have already solved this problem for you.
Many cities have recreation centers that offer public access to indoor and outdoor pools, along with free or very affordable swimming classes. Classes in most cities range from brand-new swimmers (kids and adults) to experienced swimmers looking to