Swimming is a popular form of exercise for people of all ages and physical ability. Not only is it relatively cheap compared to other sports, but it’s also enjoyable and allows people to exercise at a pace that suits them.
If you’re looking for ways to keep yourself active, then swimming is a great option as it offers an array of benefits, as we’ve explained below.
Increase Cardiovascular Endurance
Swimming is a good cardio workout that increases both your heart rate and lung capacity. It increases your circulation and strengthens the heart muscle, and as your body is almost horizontal in the water (unlike other forms of cardio like running) more of your blood can move to your heart rather than pool in your legs.
Cardio workouts help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke too.
It Provides a Whole-Body Workout
If you’re looking for a full-body workout, then swimming is the answer. Although different strokes emphasise different muscle groups, swimming generally targets muscles in your legs, abdomen, arms and shoulders, allowing you to increase muscle strength and tone.
Suitable for People of All Ages & Abilities
You can be seven or seventy years of age; swimming welcomes people of all ages and fitness levels. You can go at your own pace and if you aren’t too confident, most pools have a designated section solely for beginners and those who’d like to swim slowly.
Swimming is also the favoured type of exercise for those who have injuries or particular physical conditions. People with arthritis, for example, are likely to find high-impact exercise difficult, but as water gently supports the muscles and isn’t high-impact, swimming allows even those with injuries to keep active.
Likewise, many people with disabilities find that swimming is the ideal workout option. Not only does it provide resistance and support, but it can also boost confidence and improve social skills (which is particularly beneficial for those with mental disabilities).
Effective Way of Burning Calories
Swimming is proven to be an excellent way of burning calories. Just how much you burn will depend on your weight and how often you swim, but it is an effective exercise for those who want to actively lose weight.
Boost Mood & Relieve Stress
Any form of exercise is good for your mental health. As well as releasing endorphins which contributes to improved mood, it can also be great for relieving stress and anxiety as exercise can distract the mind from troubling thoughts.
Being able to swim isn’t just beneficial for your mental and physical health, it’s a great skill to have that may even be lifesaving.
Varied & Fun Form of Exercise
Swimming could be the perfect solution if you find you quickly get bored with repetitive exercise. There are multiple strokes for you to learn so you can vary the structure and purpose of each session.
You could also consider entering a virtual challenge or participating in aqua aerobics classes to add variety to your workouts.
How Long Do You Need to Swim to Get a Good Workout?
Given that everyone has different capabilities, strengths and confidence, it’s difficult to categorically state how long you should be swimming for in order for it to have a positive impact. It is thought that around 30 minutes is a good amount of time, but we advise you stick to whatever is comfortable for you. One idea is to gradually increase the number of lengths you swim each time you visit the pool so that you can view your progress over time and reward yourself when you reach and accomplish certain milestones.
Is it Better to Swim or Run?
Again, it’s impossible to determine whether swimming or running is better for you as it largely depends on what your individual goals and objectives are. Both benefit your cardiovascular health, respiratory strength and calorie burn, and also work several muscle groups at once, so each are very worthwhile forms of exercising.
Here are just a few things to consider:
- There is perhaps more potential to lose weight quicker with running, but swimming is the better option if you suffer with joint problems.
- Running will help you to build stronger bones as it increases your bone mineral density, but you are at an increased risk of sustaining a fracture.
- Swimming works your upper body muscles much more than running does since they are used to pull yourself through the water.
Virtual Swimming Challenges with Race At Your Pace
Here at Race At Your Pace, we’re passionate about rewarding you for getting in the pool and keeping active.
We inspire and motivate people to enjoy their swimming through our popular virtual challenges. The challenges task you to swim a specified number of miles within a month, and once complete you’ll receive a prestigious medal as recognition for your hard work and perseverance!
Varying distances are available so people of all experience and capabilities can enter. You can also complete the challenge in however many swims you like, wherever you like and whenever you like.