Alright, let’s face it – summer is here and it’s going to stay for quite a while. From backyard barbeques to long beach walks and skinny dipping, summer is the perfect time to bond with people, make awesome memories, and enjoy life to the fullest.
Apart from that, though, everybody’s favorite hot and bothered season allows you to take your exercise game to the next level. In this case, the next level is right outside – you’re one door away from it.
Be it running, hiking, cycling, good old walking or calisthenics, everything is that much better between the months of June and August. But talking about summer sports and activities, we can’t forget to mention the one to rule them all – swimming!
When it comes to popularity, swimming is ranked #4 in the USA. Considering the fact that it’s suitable for all ages and all types of fitness activities, it’s no wonder swimming is the go-to sport for so many people. When we swim, we engage our entire body, giving ourselves quite a good full-body workout. Apart from that, to generate the necessary power to propel through water and stay afloat, we rely on our heart and lungs. While swimming, we’re building both physical strength
and cardiovascular endurance
. Not to mention that being able to swim can be lifesaving!
A closer look at all the awesome benefits of swimming
It’s common sense that swimming engages your entire body and forces your heart to work a bit harder than usual, but there are other, more concrete benefits that it can provide you with! Let’s take a deep dive (pun intended) and find out all about them.
Swimming helps you build muscle
After all, it’s a type of resistance training. Pushing yourself through the water can be quite hard and quite difficult, especially if you’re inexperienced. To do it successfully, you need to use your entire body, activating muscles from different groups, especially the main ones.
Stroking with your arms and legs, you’re working on your back, shoulders, abs, and even forearms. As far as your lower body goes, your glutes and hamstrings, and sometimes your calves take the biggest beating.
The best thing about swimming is the fact that it’s low impact, unlike jogging, for example. It’s easy on the joints, and there’s very little risk of injury. Don’t get us wrong, you won’t build a massive back, gigantic shoulders, and fearsome legs from swimming alone. But if you want to have fun and work out at the same time, cool off, and avoid summer’s heat waves, definitely give swimming a go.
Swimming helps you deal with arthritis
Swimming is amazing for everyone who’s diagnosed with osteoarthritis, as it eases joint pain and reduces stiffness. It’s even better than cycling, because you don’t put strain on your back.
According to certain studies
, swimming can be considered the best form of activity to increase the quality of life of arthritis sufferers. It reduces pain in the joints and improves joint functionality and strength, making living with the condition much more bearable.
Swimming helps you burn tons of calories
It makes sense, right? You use a whole lot of different muscles, your heart is pumping faster and harder, and your breathing is deeper and more controlled. Yeah, no wonder swimming is great cardio
If you’re 180 pounds and you swim for 30 minutes, at a relatively fast pace, you could burn up to 420 calories! That’s nothing to sneeze at. If you decide to go for a 30-minute walk instead, you’d burn somewhere between 160 and 200 calories, depending on your pace.
Swimming improves mental health
There are many physical activities that can help you unplug and remain with yourself for a while. But nothing beats swimming. Why? Because you can’t look at your phone! You’re naked, after all, and submerged in a body of water. Good luck trying to peek at your IG notifications or frantically check your email.
Embrace the feeling. Swimming gives you all the “me time” in the world. It’s literally physical meditation
. When you get in the zone, all you care about is the next stroke. Listen to the noise you make in the water, feel the soft gliding of the water on your skin. Do that 30 minutes a day and you’ll be surprised by how good you feel afterwards! No anxiety, no stress, and lower levels of depression. Some studies
even claim that swimming can reduce the severity of depression symptoms by a whopping 80%.
Swimming improves sleep
As with all types of exercise, doing enough of it will eventually tire you out. But not in a bad way! Exercising daily for up to 60 minutes can have a very positive effect on the way you feel.
Being active primes your body, making its natural processes, like sleep, better. Daily activity is like a natural sleeping pill. There’s less tension in your muscles and joints, which leads to less pain and less annoyance, which ultimately leads to a higher quality of sleep.
Not only that, but during the summer, going for a quick swim right before bed can help you cool off and ease your body into sleep.
Swimming improves heart health
According to this study
, swimming over the course of a couple of weeks can significantly lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and increase the amount of blood that gets transported to the brain.
As with all types of cardio, swimming provides the standard benefits and forces your body to adapt to a higher heart rate. In turn, this not only strengthens your heart, but also helps your cells’ mitochondria to better utilize fat stores for energy. A win-win!
Swimming helps older adults stay active
is a phenomenon that affects everyone as we age – it’s the gradual decline in muscle mass and loss of strength. To counteract that, we need to maintain our resistance training regimens and remain as active as possible
. Swimming proves to be amazing for that, especially for the elderly, as it is low impact and doesn’t put unnecessary strain on the joints and ligaments.
Not only that, but as we age, our mental health needs to be taken care of. Going for a swim can help with just that! As we’ve discussed already, swimming is a great way to leave the world behind for a while and focus on the present moment. Of course, older adults can benefit from this as much as a youngster can!
Lastly, swimming may improve bone health. Also, the low risk of injury makes it great for every older person, as age-related weaknesses in the muscles, tendons, and bones can lead to a whole lot of pain. It’s best to avoid it, if possible.
What are you waiting for? The water’s great!
Well, that about wraps it up! Summer’s awesome; make the most of it by going for a long, relaxing swim! Bonus points if you live next to a beautiful beach, where the sky’s baby-blue and the seagulls are singing of a time long gone.
Have fun and don’t forget to wear sunscreen everyday!
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