Running is obviously top on our list of exercises to do on a regular basis, but here’s a close second, which has immense benefits. Swimming is one of those exercises that’s difficult to hate (there aren’t that many of those!), probably because it can be calming and enjoyable at the same time.
Most people enjoy a dip in the pool while they are away on holiday abroad, so why not turn that into part of your fitness regime by adding in some laps on a regular basis? Swimming can offer a wealth of benefits and even improve your running.
Swimming Offers a Super Cardio Workout
Swimming is a whole-body workout. It requires plenty of energy and burns loads of calories because you’re using almost every part of your body. It puts your body through the same kind of workout that a cardio class, like Zumba, or a run would do, increasing your heart rate and boosting your metabolism. Just like running, you can try intervals to get more from swimming. Simply alternate quick front crawl swims with gentler workouts, perhaps sticking to breaststroke and backstroke. You’ll find that your swimming improves significantly this way, too.
Swimming is Great for Building Strength
While swimming is a great way of increasing your heartrate, just like running does, it isn’t simply a cardiovascular workout. Swimming also works muscles throughout your body, so it can help to improve your body’s strength in general. Resistance from the water means that your muscles are having to work even harder just as you find doing traditional types of strength workouts. If you can, try running or walking quickly up and down the pool a few times (widths, of course, unless you are super tall or use a very shallow pool!). Swimming is a great exercise for gaining muscle and toning up, too. We all know how often us runners can get injured (sigh!), so swimming can also be used as a way of strengthening muscles that have been injured through exercise. The water resistance means that you can work out without adding any extra stress to your injuries.
Swimming is Fantastic for Everybody!
One of the very best things about swimming is that pretty much anyone can do it, whatever your age or fitness level. It’s also a great thing to do as a family – having fun together and staying healthy simultaneously. Do be sure to keep a close eye on your children though, as the water and poolside can be dangerous places. Of course, not everyone is a confident swimmer and if that sounds like you, perhaps you could join an adults’ beginners or improvers class. This could help you to feel more at ease in the water as well as setting a great example to your kids.
Will you be adding swimming to your weekly fitness regime? If you’re not sure, take your partner or a friend along with you. You’ll probably have such a blast. And if swimming lanes really isn’t your thing, consider an aqua aerobics class, perhaps, which shares some similar benefits.