Swimming can be practiced as both a sport and as a form of exercise or recreation. It involves the physical act of propelling one’s body across the water using a combination of the legs and arms. Swimming is very popular as an exercise as it engages almost every part of the body, and is often prescribed as therapy for the physically challenged.
Swimming is a skill that is often considered to be life-saving and is often taught to children in their early years. Swimming has also been practiced as a sport for centuries. It can be an individual sport or a team sport.
Over the years, competitive swimming has featured in numerous sports competitions. There are different strokes that a person can use to swim, for example, butterfly stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle, etc. The first swimming competition was held in the early 1930s. Historians have also found evidence of swimming being practiced as recreation in prehistoric times, as early as the Stone Age which was around approximately 10,000 years ago. There are references to recreational swimming in numerous mythical texts such as the Iliad, the Bible, the Quran, the Beowulf, the Odyssey, and more.
|Benefits of Swimming||Drawbacks of Swimming|
|Swimming has numerous health benefits.||It might increase the risk of injuries|
|It works on the entire body ||It sometimes causes skin allergies|
|It helps improve the insides of the body ||It might cause fungal infection|
|It helps with numerous health conditions ||Might have to discontinue in winter|
|Swimming is considered beneficial during Pregnancy||Support of other equipment required|
|It helps to combat asthma |
It is a great form of exercise for kids
|It has a good effect on mental health|
|It aids in sound sleep|
|It burns calories|
|Might be helpful for patients suffering from MS|
|It is an inexpensive form of recreation|
|It is a great form of stress-busting|
Advantages of Swimming
- Swimming has numerous health benefits
Swimming is considered to be one of the healthiest forms of exercise and can be continued by most people throughout their lifetime. Though it falls under the category of low impact workout, it has several positive effects on one’s health and strength. For instance, it helps build muscle endurance, improves cardiovascular fitness, builds muscle strength, etc.
Swimming, apparently also has a direct correlation with reducing the chances of dementia in elders. It also helps relieve muscle tension and joint pain. Overall, this sport or recreational activity is beneficial for health purposes and is advisable to people of all age groups
- It works on the entire body.
If you want to work your whole body, then the best workout to go for is 150 minutes of swimming with moderate vigor of 75 minutes of high-intensity swimming. While working out in the gym, you need to focus on specific areas on separate days. However, swimming results in working your entire body, from head to toe, all at once.
One hour of swimming is said to burn almost as many calories as one hour of moderate running, without impacting the joints. It has also proved to increase a person’s heart rate, without causing any stress to the body. It tones the muscle, builds endurance, and is one of the best exercises to increase stamina and strength.
The different strokes that one follows while swimming, like breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke, freestyle, butterfly; each has a different impact on the different targeted muscle group. The resistance provided by water also helps work the body and irrespective of the style of swimming, the entire body and the maximum number of muscle groups are being exercised.
- It helps improve the insides of the body
Swimming does not only help work your muscles alone, but it also helps in the improved functioning of your cardiovascular system. Research has shown, that, swimming has a direct impact on the heart and lungs and makes them stronger. There is a theory that says that swimming even reduces the risk of death, though research on this particular topic is still under process.
It says that in comparison with non-swimmers, swimmers have only half the risk of death. Some researches also show that active swimmers have a lowers chance of suffering from high blood pressure as compared to non-swimmers. It also may help control blood sugar levels
- It helps with numerous health conditions
Unlike high-intensity gym exercises, people with arthritis, disability, injuries, and other issues, can safely swim without jeopardizing their health or aggravating their condition. It is even believed that swimming rather helps reduce pain or hasten the process of recovery from injuries.
For example, people suffering from osteoarthritis reportedly show a positive result after they undergo swimming therapy; it is said to have relived their muscle stiffness and reduced their joint pain. Swimming tends to have all the health benefits of more high impact land exercises like cycling and running but does not have any of the negative impacts of these exercises.
- It helps to combat asthma
Swimming in indoor pools is considered to be a great activity for patients suffering from asthma. The humidity level of the indoor pool acts as a plus. Practicing breathing exercises, such as holding your breath while swimming seems to be beneficial as well.
It seems to help you increase the capacity of your lungs and helps you control the breathing. To aid the process, it is best if you can find yourself a pool where they treat and purify the water using natural substances such as sea-salt rather than using chlorine.
- Might be helpful for patients suffering from MS
MS or multiple sclerosis is a pretty complicated health condition. There have been researches suggesting that swimming can prove beneficial for MS too. The water buoyancy is supposed to help provide support to the limbs while helping them with the resistance that is felt during swimming.
The study claims that regular swimming helps alleviate pain for the patients. They also showed considerable improvement from other conditions such as anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
- It burns calories
Swimming helps to torch calories and reduce those stubborn fats. One hour of swimming is said to burn more calories than one hour of light jogging or exercising on the elliptical trainer. Swimming burns about 423 calories in a person weighing 160 pounds in an hour, and approximately 500 to 900 calories in a person weighing 200 pounds.
As opposed to this one hour of jogging might burn only about 314 calories and exercise on the elliptical trainer might burn only about 365 calories. Yoga burns as little as only 183 calories.
- It aids in sound sleep
Swimming, like any other form of exercise, helps you in sleeping soundly at night. It has been proven that people with insomnia have seen a remarkable improvement in their sleep after they took up swimming. Swimming is a sport that can be safely practiced by the older population as well, thus, it is one of the best exercises to help you sleep better at night.
- It has a good effect on mental health
Swimming helps improve one’s memory. It has proven to help people suffering from dementia. Not only that, but swimming also tends to improve the overall mood of a person and helps those battling depression.
- It is a great form of stress-busting
While researches are still underway, it is said that swimming has the potential to reduce stress in people. It is a quick hack to relieve stress and feel good again.
- Swimming is considered beneficial during pregnancy
Unlike most other forms of high impact exercises, swimming is considered to be safe during pregnancy. Studies also show that the fetus as well as the mother benefit from swimming. It is proved to improve brain development in the unborn baby and even protect them from certain neurological diseases. Swimming can be done in all three trimesters of pregnancy.
- It is a great form of exercise for kids
Kids should typically engage in 60 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every day. Swimming can be a fun exercise for kids and they might not feel that this is a chore or a routine. Swimming classes can be structured or unstructured, either way, it is of immense benefit.
- It is an inexpensive form of exercise
Compared to other forms of exercise, like gymming, pilates, Zumba, swimming is pretty inexpensive and affordable. There are many community pools, or there might be pools in schools as well. Some employees also get reimbursements for joining a form of fitness. All clubs also tend to have pools that make it easily accessible to a wide range of people from all walks of life.
Disadvantages of Swimming
- It might increase the risk of injuries
One downside of swimming is that it might cause or increase the chances of some particular injuries. The repetitive movements involved in swimming might strain the tendons or joints. Thus swimming is said to increase the chances of tendinitis, which can be quite painful.
- It might cause fungal infection
Another disadvantage of swimming is that it increases the risks of Mycosis, which is a fungal skin infection. However, mycosis isn’t only restricted to swimming alone. One can suffer from this fungal infection even if they take a shower directly after sweating it out in the gym. The most common type of mycosis occurs in the feet and is nicknamed as foot fungus.
- It sometimes causes skin allergies
Private swimming pools are sometimes disinfected with harsh chemicals like chlorine which might lead to skin irritation and rashes. Chlorine tends to irritate the mucous membranes like eyes also. That is why you must always wear goggles while swimming in a pool.
- Might have to discontinue in winter
Swimming in winter is not exactly advisable. During summers, it helps the body maintain its temperature and cool down, however during winters, swimming might increase the chances of you catching a cold or might also result in pneumonia. Heated swimming pools might be a solution, but, even then you should be careful about changing your swimwear quickly after getting up from the pool.
- Support for other equipment required
You need some protective gear while swimming like a cap to cover your hair, goggles, activewear swimsuits. Otherwise, the chemicals used to disinfect the pool might irritate your skin. Additionally, wearing sunscreen is advisable while swimming in an open pool during the day.
Thus, weightlifting can be just what your body needs if you are looking to build muscle mass and lose body fat. Next time you see those barbells and dumbbells in your gym, try lifting them, but obviously under the guidance of a qualified trainer. It will help you unlock your true potential and improve your core strength in a way you had never imagined was possible.
Lifting will provide a new stimulus for your body and will help it escape the rut that repetitive cardio can cause. So, instead of being intimated by those weights, try lifting them, however, take proper precautions to make sure you don’t injure yourself!