Swimming is truly a unique exercise in that it works your entire body while also being low-impact. Especially when varying your strokes, you can be sure to hit every major muscle group.
Swimming by itself does not result in massive muscle gains, per AZ Central’s Healthy Living. But, the activity does efficiently tone, firm and define muscles due to resistance. A swimmer faces up to 14% more resistance compared to a land-based exerciser. Also, there is no impact while your body is supported by the density of the water.
This means the activity is a great choice for anyone who suffers from knee issue or hip pain. Harvard Research found that a 155-pound person burns an estimated 372 calories for every 30 minutes of freestyle swimming. This mark is just 37 calories shy of what what the same weight person would burn for 30 minutes of running at a 9-minute pace.
Although swimming is a great calorie-burner, the activity can also increase your appetite. As noted by Masters swimming coach Julia Galan on SwimSwam, the exact reasons for increased appetite are unknown. A common theory is that swimming in colder water prevents the release of appetite-suppressing hormones.
New swimmers must appreciate that appetite control is critical in taking full advantage of the aforementioned benefits from swimming. Galan says that if a dedicated swimmer adheres to a training regimen but isn’t losing weight, caloric imbalance may be the cause.
“You are likely eating more calories than you are burning. Adjust your daily calorie intake accordingly and you will begin to see results.”
Why is swimming good for you?
Avid swimmers can tell you they feel weightless in the water, a benefit of the sport’s no-impact trademark. Additionally, especially when varying strokes, a swimmer can engage virtually every muscle group. This means that, over time and paired with a healthy diet, a swimmer’s body can become toned and firm.
But, there are additional benefits that come into play when one takes up swimming. According to Healthy Living, other perks of taking the plunge include decreased anxiety, as well as better bone health. Swimming can help ease joints affected by arthritis and osteoarthritis.
On a cardiovascular level, one’s heart power is strengthened after regular swimming. The body’s ability to maximize the use of oxygen intake is also improved through repetitive swimming.
In 2017, Swim England was the first organization of its kind to look at a correlation between well-being and swimming. Its study found that swimming is associated with a lower risk of early death by 28 percent and can benefit those with long term health conditions.
Additionally, the study found that children who have taken regular swimming lessons have shown to develop more quickly than their peers. This is shown physically, cognitively, and socially.