Swimming is a popular activity around the world. But why, exactly? There are many reasons why you should swim regularly. Read on to learn about the benefits of swimming and how to incorporate this activity into your routine.
Swimming is a great exercise for your whole body. It builds strength, endurance, tones your muscles and increases your heart rate without putting too much stress on your body.
It’s a low impact exercise that is beneficial for all ages and for people with all types of conditions. This exercise is good to practise if you have any injuries or suffer from arthritis, or a disability, because it is gentle on the body. It can decrease pain, especially joint pain, help ease headaches and reduce stiffness.
This activity not only works your outer body, it also works your inner body. It makes your lungs and heart strong and can lower cholesterol, blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
It is also great for burning calories and losing weight. It can boost your energy, mood, can help you to better manage stress, decrease depression and relieve (or even cure!) asthma and allergies.
Strokes to practise
There are different strokes you can practise including freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. Freestyle is probably the easiest and most natural stroke to practise, whilst butterfly is the hardest to master in terms of technique; it’s quite an intense stroke and focuses on the stomach muscles.
All four workouts are designed to improve your overall fitness. No matter what stroke you practise in your workout, you’re using most of your muscle groups to move your body through the water.
If you haven’t tried this workout before, or are unsure about your technique, you can take a few lessons. This will build your confidence in the water and teach you the correct way to breathe. Getting your breathing technique right will improve your effectiveness in the water.
Where to swim
This sport is widely accessible and affordable for everyone.
You can go to your local pool, the beach, or if you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard you can jump straight in and start right away.
What you need
It’s advisable to wear goggles to protect your eyes from stinging (from the chlorine or salt water) and a cap to protect your hair in the water.
A cap keeps your hair neatly tucked away and prevents it from getting in your eyes. You want to be comfortable and be able to focus on your swimming, and nothing else!
Silicone caps are the best. They are very comfortable to wear and are thick, which means they won’t tear easily. Place some talcum powder inside your cap and rub it together to spread the powder evenly. This will help you to put on your cap with ease and prevent it from tearing.
Also, just remember if you swim regularly to always wash your hair with soap and water afterwards because chlorine can actually make your hair look green over time!
Props you can use to enhance your workout include kick boards to focus the work on your legs, foam pulls buoys (place them between your legs to prevent yourself from kicking) to focus all the work on your arms and upper body, and flippers to help you focus on your technique and glide through the water more easily (and do more laps!).
Don’t forget to take a bottle of water with you and leave it on the pool side to stay hydrated during your workout… it’s very important!
Just remember it’s always wise to warm up your muscles before training so they don’t cease up, or even worse tear, which is very painful.
That may mean going for a light walk or jog first before hitting the pool. Alternatively, you can do a few easy laps before increasing the intensity of your swim. A warm down is also a good idea to relax your muscles after a hard workout. You want to avoid being in pain the next day!
This exercise has so many benefits for your overall health and well-being and you can continue to practise it as you get older.
Don’t delay, get onto it today!