Is Swimming the Best Exercise?
Written by Justine Raahas Wednesday, 29 June 2011 12:08
Swimming is widely considered as the best form of exercise – and this might just be so, considering its numerous benefits for the whole body. It makes use of almost all major muscle groups, eliminating the need for separate muscle exercises. Swimming also exercises your heart and lungs – which gives you a good aerobic and cardiovascular exercise as well.
Swimming does not only provide benefits to the muscles of the body, but also conditions the cardiovascular system. Regular swimming (at least three times a week) increases the ability of the lungs and heart, keeping them stronger. The body begins to use more oxygen, and you therefore, will be able to train longer and stronger. After several weeks of training you will become stronger allowing you to have more endurance for everyday activities.
Water provides resistance that’s 12 times more than air – this means that water basically acts like a full set of weights. The resistance on your body tones all the muscles of the body that move, helping it become toned and strong. This means that your back, shoulders, hips, legs, abs and gluteal muscles work twelve times harder than you would if you were simply walking or jogging on land. The resistance provided by water is not strenuous at all, since water cushions the muscles and keeps it safe from harsh impact.
Swimming is advisable for people with injuries and people afraid of getting injuries because it is done in an environment that supports the body. Thus, swimming is virtually an injury – free exercise. It helps rehabilitates injuries and improves flexibility without stressing the joints. Individuals who are overweight can also safely exercise without putting much pressure on their knees. Some overweight individuals may find it tedious or even painful to do simple and light exercises such as walking. Swimming makes it easier for them since it takes the weight off the muscles, yet continues to exercise them.
Swimming is also good for the elderly. Older individuals or people with arthritis or musculoskeletal problems may not be able to do high impact activities as it increases the risk for pain and injuries. Swimming is a low impact activity and can be done by people who have joint strain. It’s good for all fitness levels.
Swimming moves all the major muscles of the body – thus it burns more calories as opposed to walking or jogging. Of course, it’s important to understand in order for swimming to be effective as a weight loss method, you will still need to balance your diet or consume less calories than you burn. With the proper diet, swimming can be a great way to stay fit and lose weight
All doctors recommend pregnant women to try mild exercises during the course of their pregnancies. Swimming is an ideal exercise for pregnant women as it effectively trains their backs and torsos. Pregnant women need strong backs in order to carry the weight of their bellies.
Swimming is really a good form of exercise, and if you don’t know how to swim – it’s never too late to learn. First find a club or a gym with a pool - Before starting, though, it’s important to learn the basics of swimming first. Many gyms or clubs with pools offer swimming classes. When you know the basics, you can start with at least three sessions a week and increase to up to five days a week. Enjoy and have fun keeping fit without the muscle aches and the potential injuries on the side.
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