Swimming is one of the best exercises. It is a combination of cardio and muscle training and can do wonders for your health. Swimming is a complete exercise; it can help you burn calories and help you stay fit and healthy. But there’s more to it. Find out the benefits of swimming.
Benefits of Swimming
There can be no exercise as refreshing as swimming! Here are some of the benefits of swimming.
1. Improves the Health of the Heart
Swimming accelerates your heartbeat making your heart muscles work. Therefore, swimming for at least half an hour 3-4 times a week can reduce the chances of any type of cardiac problems. Swimming can make your heart and lungs stronger.
2. May Help You Lose Weight
It is a great cardio exercise and tends to work up the muscles of your entire body. This burns down calories and can help you stay fit and healthy.
3. It Can Strengthen Your Muscles
When you swim, you utilise more muscle groups to move through the water. While your legs kick, your arms pull. This way your whole body stretches and you become more flexible. Swimming gives you a complete body workout.
4. Improves Breathing Problems
People with asthma can find it challenging to exercise in a gym since the air may be dry there. Whereas, while swimming people breathe in moist air which can prevent asthma and also benefit the lungs.
5. It Helps Lower Stress
Swimming refreshes and relaxes you just the way yoga or pranayama does. Swimming has a calming and meditative effect on people. It can help you focus better and lower your stress.
6. Reduces Inflammation
Swimming also helps reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build-up in your heart. Swimming is also a great exercise for people with arthritis. It may reduce pain to an extent and provide relief from injuries.
7. It’s a Great Pregnancy Exercise
Staying healthy and active during pregnancy is very important. Swimming is a great exercise to perform during pregnancy. It will help you stay fit and maintain your weight. And when you will have a healthy weight, most problems associated with pregnancy will be taken care of. Therefore, swimming being a low-impact exercise is a great workout during pregnancy.
8. Lowers Back Pain
We usually tend to hunch our backs while working or riding a bike. This causes bad body postures, hence we have back pain. Swimming helps you improve your body posture and can even prevent backaches.
9. Cures Insomnia
Inactive people may have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. However, swimming can help them get good sleep as it tires the muscles of the body.
10. Lowers Blood Pressure
Cardio exercises help in lowering blood pressure. Swimming is a good cardio exercise which not just works on your heart muscles but also on overall body muscles helping you lose excess body fat which is another cause of hypertension.
How to Get Started with Swimming
Swimming is a wonderful way to stay fit mentally as well as physically. Below mentioned are some tips that every beginner should know before they start swimming.
- To start with, get enrolled in a swimming class which suits your budget and time.
- Buy a good pair of swimming goggles, cap, and swimwear.
- Wearing swimming goggles will be uncomfortable in the beginning. Practise wearing them much before you start swimming.
- Keep two sets of goggles; a clear one for cloudy days and a dark one for sunny and bright days.
- Practise floating in the water by holding the side of the pool with both the hands and allowing your legs to float.
- Learn to exhale underwater.
- Beginners should practise using their legs in the water by holding onto the side of the pool and kicking in the water.
Swimming Exercises You Can Try
Here are a few swimming exercises to try:
It is one of the best swimming strokes for beginners.
- Start with your face down in the water, body floating and your hands stretched above your head.
- Take your right hand and push the water backwards and bring the right hand back to the starting position.
- While your right hand gets backs to the starting position, allow your left hand to push the water back and bring it back to the starting position.
- Continue the movements with both your hands while turning your head left and right to breathe in and breathe out.
It is a great stroke to exercise your back and hand muscles.
- Float on your back with hands at your sides.
- Lift up your right hand and take it in a circular motion underwater to bring it back to the starting position.
- Meanwhile, lift your left hand and do the same movement.
- Continue the movement with both your hands while kicking the water with both your legs.
It is a swimming technique that is easy to learn and works on your arms, legs, shoulders, and neck.
- Float on the water with your face down; arms stretched above your head and legs stretched out straight towards the wall.
- Start by pulling the water with your hands towards the chest.
- Once your palms reach the chest level, take them back to the starting position.
- At the same time, kick the water with your legs and bring your head above the water to inhale and take it back into the water to exhale.
It is a difficult stroke and requires strength and coordination to perform it.
- Start with your body floating, face and palm downwards and arms stretched out above the head.
- Move the arms downwards in a semi-circular motion.
- Bring them above the water and again follow the same movement.
- While your arms are up, bring your head and chin too above the water and inhale.
- Legs should be kept together with toes pointed out while kicking downwards. However, the kicks should be strong enough to help your body go forward.
5. Dog Paddle
It is a swimming technique that can keep you afloat in water.
- Stretch out your arms with palms facing downwards.
- Keeping your head above water, paddle with both your hands and legs just as dogs do in the water.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Swimming
Listed below are some tips that you should keep in mind while swimming.
- Before you get into the pool, do a warm up and stretch your muscles.
- Do not eat a heavy meal before going for a swim.
- Beginners or people who have not swum for a long time should start swimming for about 20-30 minutes then increase the time gradually.
- Wear earplugs to prevent an ear infection from developing.
- You can wear swim fins to help your legs work better while swimming. It also makes your ankles more flexible.
- If you are more anxious about breathing in the water and unable to concentrate on your swimming techniques, use a swimmer’s snorkel.
Here are answers to a list of frequently asked questions on swimming and its health benefits.
1. How Long Should I Swim to Get a Good Workout?
You can swim for about half an hour thrice a week to stay healthy and physically fit and healthy.
2. Is it Safe to Swim on an Empty Stomach?
Going for a swim on an empty stomach is a complete no. It requires a lot of energy to swim and food is the only way that will provide you with energy. However, refrain from having a heavy meal before swimming and eat at least 2-3 hours before you go for a swim.
3. Is It Better to Swim in the Morning?
If you are following a swimming routine to lose weight fast then swimming in the morning on an empty stomach is advisable. However, you may swim at any time of the day.
Include swimming in your fitness regime. You will stay fit and healthy.