According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity, people of all ages who are generally inactive can make significant improvements to their health and well being by becoming moderately active on a regular basis. Exercising most days of the week, reduces your risk of developing and dying prematurely from some of the leading causes of illness such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Swimming is an outstanding activity for all ages and abilities including those with physical limitations. Swimming is a whole-body, low impact exercise that strengthens your core and speeds up your metabolism. A comfortable swim suit and goggles are all you need to start. If you are a beginner, consider joining a class where you can learn proper stroke and breathing techniques. Start slowly, 10 minutes at a time and build up to 30 minutes three to five times per week.
Here are my top ten reasons for taking the plunge:
- Total body workout. Swimming works all the major muscle groups as well as your cardiovascular system. Swimming increases muscle strength and flexibility while improving your overall physique. Water provides 12 – 14% more resistance than land exercise which gives you a better workout and helps build strength. Resistance also makes the muscles work harder without the strain or impact of land exercises.
- Joint friendly. Water’s buoyancy cushions joints and bones. Swimming builds strong muscles that support joints thereby reducing risk of joint injury. Water based exercise can improve the use of joints affected by arthritis and may help decrease pain from inflammation.
- It lengthens muscles. Swimming provides a combination of resistance training and cardio training and builds long lean muscles. The range of movements used while swimming helps to keep muscles flexible.
- Improves overall lung control and breathing capacity. Various studies have suggested that swimmers have a larger total lung capacity and use oxygen more efficiently. In addition, the moist air may help to reduce symptoms of exercise induced asthma by causing less irritation to the airways.
- Weight management. One hour of moderate swimming can burn 500 calories. The metabolism boost from a swim workout continues to burn calories well after your workout is completed.
- Beats boredom. Swimming is a diverse exercise. In addition to the four basic swim strokes of breast, back, butterfly and freestyle, you can vary your workout with interval training to challenge your speed. Water aerobics, deep water running and wall exercises are other options.
- It’s optimal cross training. A swim workout can improve performance in other sports and can provide an extra competitive edge.
- Maximizes your cardio workout. Considered the ultimate aerobic activity, the increased oxygen demand makes your muscles work harder giving you a better workout in a shorter period of time.
- Therapeutic. Swimming is a great exercise when you are recovering from trauma or illness. Water exercises designed for clinical purposes are used for muscle rehabilitation and recovery. Swimming aids in stress relief by allowing you to clear your mind and set your worries aside. Water continually flowing over the body has a cooling and calming effect.
- It’s fun and refreshing. The endorphins released while swimming can leave you feeling refreshed, energized and renewed. Swimming has been shown to improve mood, decrease anxiety and have a positive effect on mental health in both men and women.
Supplements that support exercise, endurance and training include:
Athletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations are designed to support physical training and performance. It is a complete hypo-allergenic, nutrient rich, highly bioavailable multi-vitamin, multi-mineral and trace element supplement. This formula combines superior mineral cofactors, activated vitamins, antioxidants and pH balanced creatine that targets endurance, promotes energy and lessens muscle fatigue.
Klean Electrolytes by Klean Athlete is formulated with the athlete in mind and supplies a blend of minerals to help replenish electrolytes and retain hydration. To help achieve optimal performance, Klean Electrolytes may be used prior to, during and after exercise.
Amino Acid Synergy by Designs for Health is useful for people whose diets are insufficient in quality protein and athletes that require additional amino acids to maintain or achieve greater lean body mass.