Elderly man enjoying swimming

Jump in to the benefits of swimming

If you’re tired of huffing and puffing through high-intensity workouts that make you feel like you’re about to faint, it’s time to discover a refreshing way to stay active and healthy! Swimming is making a splash in the world of health as the perfect cardiovascular exercise for all ages and body types. Swimming offers a whole-body workout that can improve your physical health, and the benefits of swimming can also extend to your mental well-being. So, take a deeper dive into swimming, health benefits of the activity, suggestions on swimming workouts, and ways to safely fit swimming into your life.

As one of the most popular pastimes in the world, swimming is perfect for anyone looking for a low-impact activity that’s easy on your joints and lets you exercise without the sweat, struggle, or strain. When it comes to swimming, health benefits range from the physical to the mental. You’ll be amazed at how water workouts can work wonders for your health:

  1. Works your entire body – Swimming is an outstanding whole-body workout. It activates nearly every major muscle group in your upper and lower body. By using your arms, legs, and torso, swimming helps improve your strength and build your endurance, while the resistance from the water helps tone your muscles. This full-body exercise shows that getting a good workout doesn’t need to take a lot of work!
  2. Shows your heart some love – Take your health to heart by swimming to improve your cardiovascular health. This heart-pumping exercise allows your heart to pump blood more efficiently, which improves the blood flow throughout your body. Once you regularly start swimming, health benefits you may see include lower blood pressure, a stronger heart, and less risk of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Burns off calories – If you think you need to work up a sweat to work off calories, swimming will be a refreshing surprise. The water sport torches a massive number of calories, but lets you exercise without the sweat. In fact, swimming burns more calories than most other forms of fitness. The more vigorous the swim, the more calories you’ll burn. As a result, swimming can help you stay fit, lean and in control of your weight.
  4. Helps those who are hurt – For people living with pain and soreness, swimming may be just what the doctor ordered. Swimming is a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints and gentle enough for people with injuries, arthritis, back pain, or torn ligaments. Swimming may be the ultimate recovery exercise because it can help improve range of motion, strengthen muscles around the joints, reduce joint pain and stiffness, and support muscles to let you stay active despite the ache.
  5. Lessens stress and depression – Swimming can help you stay healthy, but did you know it can help you stay happy? Swimming releases a stream of “feel good” chemicals known as endorphins, which can brighten your mood, ease your nerves, boost your energy, and improve your overall sense of well-being. Swimming is also a very calming sport. The graceful strokes and rhythmic breathing signal your mind to rest and relax, which naturally soothes away stress.

Ways to swim

If you’ve only thought of swimming as a way to cool off from the heat, you may feel like a fish out of water when it comes to swimming for exercise. To help you dip your toe in the water, try these simple strokes:

  • Water walking and jogging – Ease into swimming by walking back and forth through chest-deep water. Then, increase the intensity by jogging gently in place.
  • Front crawl – As one of the simplest strokes to learn, the front crawl shapes your entire body, especially your shoulders, back, and arms.
  • Breaststroke – This gentle stroke provides a whole-body workout by strengthening your upper body, chest, and back, while toning your thighs and lower legs. Meanwhile, the resistance this creates on your chest can improve how your lungs function.
  • Backstroke – This graceful stroke helps improve your posture and strengthen your core, while sculpting your upper back and legs.

How to safely test the waters

Before beginning to swim for exercise, ask your SignatureMD-affiliated doctor whether the sport is right for you. If it’s safe to take the leap, rest assured that swimming has a low rate of injury compared to other kinds of exercise. Consider wearing water shoes for greater traction on the pool floor. Be aware that slower movements in the water will offer less resistance than faster strokes. And, most importantly, never push your body through pain and always drink plenty of water to keep cool while in the pool.

Now that you recognize all of the physical and mental health benefits of swimming, you’ll want to take the plunge!