Swimming is great for getting the heart pumping, which strengthens the heart muscle, allowing it to be more efficient in pumping blood throughout the body.
A visual and physical benefit of swimming is how it helps build muscle tone and strength. A swimmer is essentially performing resistance exercises with every movement they make in the water, and as such, develops long, lean and strong muscles. Swimming is also known as a whole body workout, since the entire body is used, unlike other sports or workout regimes, where only specific areas are targeted.
As with any form of exercise, the level of intensity performed dictates the number of calories expended. A moderately paced swim will burn about 500 calories in an hour, which is comparable to an hour-long cross-country run or an hour of continual jump rope, while a more vigorous effort will help you use up another 150 or so.
Your regular exercise program can become monotonous over time, so keep it fresh by adding something new. Incorporating swimming as a new fitness option to your existing routine will help stave off boredom and encourage more participation.
When you consider that a person's weight in water is approximately one-tenth of what it is on dry land, the concept of low-impact exercise takes on a whole new meaning. This added buoyancy makes swimming a perfect fitness solution for those with joint pain, injuries, arthritis or any other physical issue that tends to make most exercise routines painful and difficult. Water-based exercises are also ideal for a post-surgery patient or a physically challenged individual.
Essentially your body is being cushioned by water when swimming, and this helps prevent such common sports injuries as sprains and ligament tears. Though there is a small chance a person may incur an injury while doing laps in a pool, usually any injury is minor and not due to the normal stresses put on the body while exercising.
Swimming can be a great way to relieve stress. This is in part due to the fact that one of the best benefits of physical activity is that it allows for the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals in your body. Another way swimming may help combat stress is in its relaxing effect on the body. With the focus on breathing, repetitive movements and stretching of muscles, it may result in a similar state of relaxation that meditation or yoga creates.
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