Swimming Health Benefits
Health benefits of swimming are numerous - it is great exercise for anybody wanting to become and stay fit regardless of gender or age. It is often recommended as physical activity for therapeutic purposes after surgeries, for overweight people etc.
Water (sea, lakes, rivers, pools etc) are not 'normal' habitat for people. As medium, water is some 800 times denser than air - it is much harder to perform various moves in water than in air. On the other hand, water is dense enough to hold human body on surface - easier in the sea (salt water is denser than ordinary water due to salts content), harder in lakes, rivers, pools etc. If you are familiar with swimming in the sea, be careful when going for swim in the lakes or pools and be very careful when going for the swim in fast rivers.
Good news is that when we are swimming, entire weight of human body is practically supported by water - great stress relief for joints and bones. Entire strength and stamina can be used for moving around using various swimming styles like crawl/free style, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly etc. It is very important to learn proper technique - it will help you to swim faster with the same effort and will prevent injuries to occur.
Swimming as exercise can be used as:
- aerobic exercise - swimming at low to medium pace for longer period of time can burn tremendous amounts of calories, especially if you are swimming in cold(er) water.
- anaerobic exercise - HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) swimming can be great for building strength, stamina and even building new muscle tissue, since human body is generally not used to water as workout environment - different movements, different resistance ...
Swimming in Winter
Swimming in winter - many people ask about swimming in winter. Solution is simple - if you have indoor swimming pool (at least 25m) in town where you live, than swimming at least once a week will help you burn additional calories and help you in getting rid of stress and will generally help you feel better.
If you can, combine swimming with other exercises and physical activities - walking, running, basketball, cycling, gym workouts, Martial Arts etc.
What if you don't have indoor swimming pool in your town? Well, solution (recommended even for people used to swimming in heated indoor swimming pools) is to get good diving suite (3mm for warmer climate, 5mm or thicker for colder climate) and swim in the sea, lakes and rivers even during winter. Don't forget few things:
- get some weights to cancel additional buoyancy of swimming suite - amount of needed weights depends on the size and thickness of your suite. Weights can be adjusted on site quickly, so no worries here. Good thing about weights is that belt with weights can be released in no time if something should go wrong. This is very important if you combine swimming and diving, especially during the night (be extremely careful about this) or during periods of low visibility both under and/or above water surface.
- if you are swimming in really cold water, before entering water, prepare something to warm yourself after getting out - warm tea, soup, car with engine running etc. If it is too cold, don't push it - live today, swim tomorrow :)
- during summer one can sweat really hard when HIIT swimming in warm water, but you will not notice it until you get really thirsty - at that point, working capability of your body will already start to decline. So, during summer, proper hydration is very important, even when spending plenty of time swimming or just being in the water.
During winter, people tend to neglect proper hydration - to be sure, quickest way to determine how hydrated your body is to take a pee in the snow - if it has strong yellow color, than you need to take some fluid as soon as possible or who knows what might happen ... You never took a swim during winter with snow around? Try! :)
Health Benefits of Swimming
Long story short:
- swimming can help you build strength, stamina and new muscles
- it is great exercise regardless of gender and age, both for body and mind
- if you don't know how to swim, join some swimming course and learn it properly
- swimming can be great fun, so it is recommended physical activity for children and youth
- water supports body weight - swimming is a great exercise for people having problems with joints, heart issues etc. Of course, such people should exercise under supervision of trained personnel.
Regardless if you are professional athlete or just recreational trainee, combining swimming with other exercises and sports will help you in achieving your goals - aesthetic look, becoming and staying fit, new level of physical performance etc.