- It’s a total-body workout: Swimming tackles everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms — all without having to pick up a weight. Rather than needing a plan to work specific muscles, all four strokes work to strengthen your entire body.
- It’s joint-friendly: If you’re recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit. If running is your passion, then swimming is a great way to work out on recovery days, allowing knees a rest from the pavement.
- It’s muscle-lengthening: If you’re worried about bulking up (which you shouldn’t be), then consider swimming. Swimming combines resistance training with cardio, building lean muscle and boosting your metabolism. It also puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.
- It’s helpful with exercise-induced asthma: Many swimmers first jump into the pool to relieve exercise-induced asthma. This is because swimming allows you to work out in moist air, reducing asthma symptoms. Because swimming requires some breath control, it also improves your overall lung and breathing capacity.
- It doesn’t require fancy equipment: That’s right; you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to swim. All you need is a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. Even if you do decide to add more equipment (e.g. a kickboard), they are rather inexpensive, and chances are your local pool has a few handy.
- It’s a great way to burn calories: Those myths about swimmers and calorie intake aren’t false. That’s because one hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories. This revs up your metabolism, continuing the burn well after you’ve stepped off the deck.
- There are several variations: The workouts are endless when it comes to the pool. Beyond all four strokes, you can kick, pull, or even use the wall for push-ups! Grab a friend and try this interval workout.
- It’s optimal for cross-training: Avoid elliptical burnout and a gym-class rut by trading gym workouts for the pool. A swim workout will actually improve overall performance at the gym (and vice versa!) When you’re training for a marathon or any other competition, jumping in the pool can offer you an extra edge over your competitors.
- It maximizes your cardio: Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity. There is more breath control compared to running, thus an increased demand for oxygen, causing your muscles to work harder. Because of this, you can get more bang for you buck in a short amount of time.
- It’s refreshing: Jumping into a pool is refreshing! You don’t need to be a professional swimmer to reap the benefits. Have fun with it, and enjoy being in the water. If anything, you’ll walk away with a nice tan and an endorphin kick!
by Emily Bibb