Experts Reveal Amazing Benefits of This Unique Exercise
Looking for an exercise that’s easy, fun, and improves everything from arthritis to diabetes to heart health? How about one that builds endurance, strong muscles, and a healthy heart?
Look no further. I’m talking about swimming. Humans have been swimming since time began, and swimming for exercise as far back as ancient Greek and Roman times. But what’s so great about swimming? Why is it one of our oldest and best forms of exercise?
In today’s article I’ll share with you some of the many health benefits this ancient exercise provides. I’ll also tell you about some of the unique advantages swimming provides that you just can’t get from any other kind of aerobic exercise.
Buoyant Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is the only aerobic exercise that gives your body a vigorous workout without any harsh side effects. It doesn’t adversely affect your muscles, joints, and overall skeletal system.
When you submerge your body in water, it becomes lighter. If you immerse yourself up to your waist, your body carries only 50 percent of its weight. Chest deep and the number drops to about 30 percent. If you are neck deep, your body is only bearing 10 percent of its weight. The water carries the rest of your weight.
This buoyancy means swimming provides an ideal way to work sore joints and stiff muscles. It’s especially helpful if you are overweight or suffer from arthritis. All without putting undue pressure or stress on your joints and muscles. No other form of exercise can make this claim.
Great for Arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation says swimming a few laps provides exactly the right kind of exercise for people with arthritis. According to the Foundation, swimming stretches and strengthens muscles while boosting your heart rate. And it works out sore joints without putting any stress on your joints. Thus it’s the perfect exercise for arthritis sufferers.
If you’re swimming in a heated pool, it’s just that much better for your arthritis. The warmer water helps loosen up stiff joints. Studies show that people with arthritis get more health benefits from swimming than any other kind of exercise. It improves the flexibility of afflicted joints and decreases osteoarthritis pain.
Strengthens Your Muscles
Ever see a flabby, overweight competitive swimmer? How about a fat fish? Didn’t think so. It’s because swimming provides an excellent way to tone and strengthen your muscles. In fact, studies show it does a far better job of strengthening your muscles than other forms of aerobic exercise.
Take jogging, for example. When a runner takes off around a track, he is only moving his body through the air. On the other hand, a swimmer is working harder to propel himself through the water.
Since water is twelve times denser than air, every arm stroke and kick is a resistance exercise. And we all know that resistance exercise is the best way to build muscle strength and tone.
Studies have also shown that swimming improves bone density and strength, especially among seniors.
Improves Your Flexibility
When you workout in a gym you are isolating individual body parts one at a time (like doing bicep curls with dumbbells). Swimming, on the other hand, works large numbers of joints and muscles at the same time. This helps your entire body stay flexible and loose.
Your hips get a workout as you scissor your legs. Your spine and neck work from side to side. Your arms move in wide arcs as they pull through the water. And with every stroke you are reaching ahead and stretching your body.
These are all good exercises for stretching muscles and ligaments, and improving overall flexibility.
To top off a good swim, remember to take a few minutes to do a few gentle stretches. The combination of all this activity will limber up your body in ways other workouts just can’t.
Swim Your Way to a Healthier Heart
Along with strengthening your biceps and triceps, swimming is a nearly perfect way to strengthen your heart.
Remember, swimming is aerobic exercise. It helps improve your heart health by making it stronger and allowing it to pump more efficiently. This contributes to better blood flow and overall cardiovascular health. Research has shown that aerobic exercise helps calm the body’s inflammatory reaction. Inflammation is a key contributor leading to heart disease.
The American Heart Association claims that 30 minutes of a daily exercise like swimming can reduce coronary disease by as much as 40 percent.
Swimming Helps Manage Diabetes
There are few things better at fighting diabetes than aerobic exercise. In fact, for every 500 calories a man burns per week doing aerobic exercise, he reduces his risk of diabetes by 6 percent. The average man burns about 900 calories for every 30 minutes of breaststroke swimming, meaning you reduce your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes by about 10 percent.
A middle-aged man with Type 2 Diabetes should try to do about 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise, according to the American Diabetes Association. Doing so will help control glycemic levels. In short, if you suffer from diabetes, swimming can be an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight. This will help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Swimming is unbeatable if you’re looking for an easy, fun exercise that burns calories and helps you to feel better. It builds muscle strength right along with endurance. It also helps with high cholesterol by raising your good HDL and lowering your bad LDL levels.
If you have heart disease, a moderate swimming program might be just the thing to build up your heart health. Be sure to check with your doctor before you begin a swimming program.
Start Swimming Today
If you don’t yet have a regular exercise plan - or if you’re just looking for a way to change things up - add swimming to your routine a few times each week.
Just 30 minutes of swimming a couple of times each week can dramatically improve your health, helping you to live longer and enjoy each day in good health.