When you think of getting in shape, what do you think of? Most people think of doing some type of heavy-workout such as running long-distances, cross fit, aerobics, cycling, or some high intensity workout classes.
Unfortunately for some people, certain workouts and exercises can be painful, whether due to injury or other health conditions.
What do you do to stay in shape, exercise, and keep up with your fitness if you can’t do the things that you used to do? What is something that you can do that is fun, gets your heart pumping, and is safe for your body and your needs?
The simple answer is heading for your nearest pool.
Swimming is actually much better for you than you may have imagined. As smooth-sailing as swimming might feel, it is a form of exercise that will help you to get amazing results. The following are just a few of the benefits gained by swimming as a main form of exercise:
- Swimming is great for toning. It’s especially beneficial for toning your upper body but you can also see improvement in your legs and abs, as well. If you don’t want to lift weights but want to strengthen your arms, try doing some laps around the pool every day or so.
- Swimming is a low-risk exercise. When it comes to running or cycling, there is always the possibility that you may end up injured or not able to continue with your exercise as you get older, due to the long-term effect that they have on your body. Swimming is something that you can keep up with for the rest of your life and isn’t an activity that is hard on your body.
- It keeps your heart rate up. The exercises that you do should be getting your heart rate At first glance, one would think that swimming is a leisurely activity, but try doing up to 10-15 laps as quick as possible and you’ll discover just how demanding (in a good way) it can be. Vigorous workouts are good for you, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Not everyone can do all kinds of vigorous workouts, so swimming is a great alternative to ensure that you still “sweat” it out without all the dangers that could be present for you in other kinds of sports.
- It proves an all-over body exercise. When you do exercises like running or cycling, you aren’t exercising your entire body in the way that you do when you swim. You’d be surprised at the amount of muscles that you use while swimming. Go ahead and give an hour swim a try. At the end of it, you’ll see just how much you worked out by those sore (in a good way) muscles.
- It helps you to be more flexible. No matter which kind of strokes you enjoy, swimming opens your body up and helps you to stretch in ways you don’t usually do otherwise. The way it forces your body to move is actually highly beneficial in helping you to become more flexible.
- It’s good for your balance and posture. Swimming helps you to stretch your body and to do it correctly, you have to force your body into good posture. As we walk or run, we may often let our bellies hang or we don’t stand up straight. With swimming, each stroke requires you to stretch it out.
- You’ll become more coordinated. From the moment to your arms to the way that you move your legs, you have to coordinate your body to be able to glide through the water. This type of practice can actually help you become more coordinated in other exercise or sports that you may practice.
- You can swim anywhere. A nice thing about swimming is that it’s an exercise that you can do almost anywhere. Of course, you won’t want to swim in a dirty river in the city but a trip to the lake with your family can be an opportunity for you to get some exercise in. Or, a vacation at a seaside resort can allow you to get a workout in right in the ocean. Can you imagine an early morning swim with the sunrise? I know I can.
- There is something calming about swimming. Sometimes, you just don’t want to hear anything else, whether it’s music, cars passing, or everyday noise. This is another benefit to swimming. You can just be alone in the water with you and your thoughts and nothing else to distract you. If you’re looking for a way to alleviate stress, swimming is a great option for you.
If your knees are too weak to run or you have back pain that limits your time on the bicycle, you could always turn to swimming. As a low-impact, high-intensity exercise, it can still provide you with the results that you want, without you having to worry about hurting yourself.
With little more than some swim wear and goggles (click here for some helpful info) you can be all set to improve your health and fitness levels.