Swimming Benefits the Whole Body and the Whole Person

by Pool Builders on 08-12-2009 in Articles

Swimming benefits the body and the whole person. In fact, swimming has long been considered one of the most "perfect" sports because of its low injury rate and the amazing benefits, regardless of one's age or ability. When you exercise on land, there are many factors working against you. First, you have to battle the force of your full weight. Next, you put pressure on your bones and joints, particularly if you are overweight.

The buoyancy of water acts as a protective shield around the body, taking away any excess pressure on your bones, joints and muscles. Swimming is one of the safest forms of exercise, especially if you have an injury, arthritis, a disability or are pregnant or overweight.

In addition, swimming benefits anyone trying to lose weight. When you swim, you burn calories at a rate of about 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs. and you swim one mile in 30 minutes, then you will burn about 900 calories per hour. If you weigh 150 pounds and it takes you 60 minutes to swim one mile, then you will burn 450 calories in one hour. The harder you work and the more you weigh, the more calories you burn. Colder water also stimulates blood circulation and metabolism. Because metabolism is accelerated (even after coming out of the water), the body's fat reserves are reached faster than usual.

Swimming builds muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Since water adds twelve times more resistance than air, swimming helps build muscle strength faster. Swimming works all the major muscles groups and the smoothness of the movements helps lengthen and stretch muscles, rather than make them bulky. Swimming also improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure.

Swimming benefits your health and can even lengthen your life! A recent University of Carolina study followed more than 40,000 men over a 32 year period. The swimmers were 50 percent less likely to die during the study period than were walkers or runners.

In addition to physical benefits, there are psychological benefits of swimming. Swimming forces you to regulate your breathing, while it massages your muscles and relieves stress. Being enveloped by the water creates a meditative feeling, leaving you calm and relaxed. And swimming is fun. Spending time in a water aerobics class or a master's swim class is a great social outlet. You can swim with friends, whether it be in a pool, lake or ocean.

Swimming is truly the perfect exercise that you can do for a lifetime.  

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