Swimming exercise has lots of benefits. It is beneficial to your body, mind and soul. Learning to float in the water and swim is an excellent lifesaving skill. Instead of walking, running or jogging, one can go to swim and reap its benefits without impacting their bones and joints. It can burn many calories, just like running or cycling. There are lots of benefits of swimming exercises. It can fight against cardiovascular disease and obesity. It provides endurance and flexibility. It also helps mentally. Regular exercise reduces inflammation and insulin resistance. It also helps the brain to think fast and improves memory. It reduces anxiety and depression.
It not only helps adults, but it helps children, babies, seniors, and even pregnant women. It helps to keep your physical body fit and improves mental health too.
So, if one is convinced now that it has enormous benefits, let us dive into more details of the top 20 benefits of swimming exercises.
1. Works on the full body – Benefits of swimming exercises
It is an exercise for your whole body. It just does not focus on a particular area or muscles. There are different strokes like breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Each stroke acts on other muscle groups. Water also acts as excellent resistance to tone muscles and makes you more agile. It also builds strength and endurance. To swim, you have to push a large number of muscle groups. The arms pull, the legs kick and the back reaches and rotates. The stomach tightens to provide power to the legs and stabilize the core, and as a result, the whole body extends. It makes you more flexible.
2. Works on the inside – Benefits of swimming exercises
It not only improves your muscles but also improves your heart and lungs. It increases your breathing and breath-holding capacity and makes your heart muscles strong and increases its efficiency in pumping blood. Swimming Exercise reduces inflammation that might lead to atherosclerosis. It also increases your heart rate without stressing your body and also improves cardiovascular performance. Swimming lowers your resting heart rate, meaning you are lowering the risk of heart diseases. It improves the health of the central nervous system and improves cognitive functioning. It reduces blood pressure, lowers harmful cholesterol levels and improves good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
3. Swimming exercise is good for people with injuries, arthritis, and other conditions.
People with arthritis, disability, or injury can gain massive benefits from it. It reduces pain and helps in recovery from injury. Activity also helps reduce joint pain and stiffness for people with osteoarthritis.
4. Asthma and swimming exercise
It is a superb exercise for people with chronic lung conditions like asthma. The humid environment of indoor pools and holding breath during activity help people with asthma. It helps gain better control over-breathing. There are different breathing techniques for holding breath, and this increases lung capacity. People with sports-induced asthma suffer from the contraction of bronchial tubes because of moisture and heat loss. The dry and cold air causes this. So, during exercise, the water replaces the exhaled moisture.
5. Helps people with multiple sclerosis (MS)
It is also beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis causes nerve damage and hampers communication between the brain and the body. In this activity, water acts as resistance, making limbs buoyant which helps them to use during the exercise. it reduces the pain related to MS and also improves MS symptoms like pain, fatigue, depression, and impaired coordination.
6. Burns calories
It burns many calories and is one of the best and most efficient ways to torch calories. It is one of the most tried and tested exercises to burn calories. A person with about 73 kgs weight burns approximately 423 calories per hour while exercising at a low or moderate pace. If a more intense pace is used, the same person may burn up to 715 calories each hour.
You can compare various popular activities and how many calories they can burn from the below table.
|Activity (1-hour duration)||Person weight 73 kg burns calories|
|Bicycling, < 10 mph, leisure||292|
|Elliptical trainer, moderate effort||365|
|Golfing, carrying clubs||314|
|Running, 5 mph||606|
|Swimming laps, light or moderate||423|
|Walking, 3.5 mph||314|
It is one of the most tried and tested exercise regimes to burn calories if we compare moderate intensity walking and swimming, the latter burns more calories.
7. Benefits of swimming exercises: It improves your sleep
Older people or people with some disability might be able to perform running, but it is accessible to almost everyone. Therefore, it is a good choice for people with insomnia or similar sleep issues.
8. Acts as a mood booster.
It provides psychological benefits, and it boosts mood. People with dementia also get the benefits of swimming exercises. Only being in the water makes you more relaxed. Submersion in water cooler than the body temperature allows the blood pressure to drop quickly due to the mammalian diving reflex. Because of the mammalian diving reflex, you can feel a sense of calm and soothing anxieties. Regular activity reduces stress, anxiety and depression by releasing serotonin – the feel-good hormone.
9. Safe during pregnancy
It provides excellent benefits to pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women can perform the activity in all three trimesters. There is also an adverse effect in a chlorinated pool.
The benefits are lower risk of preterm labour and congenital disabilities. Though it is considered a safe exercise, we advise you to talk to your gynaecologist before starting any exercise. It will rule out any possibility of complications in pregnancy.
10. Great for kids – Benefits of swimming exercises
As per medical guidelines, kids should work out for a minimum of 60 minutes daily. The activity should be fun and engaging. What could be best other than to swim? It is fun and doesn’t look like a formal working out.
It combats the childhood obesity rates. It also improves endurance, strength, and flexibility in kids. The activity provides kids with the tools, skills, and dedication to maintain healthier lives as adults.
11. Fun and Affordable
It is fun and does not feel like a formal workout such as a gym. It is an affordable exercise. There are pools which offer reasonable rates to join. There are some public schools and centres that provide swim hours for free.
Google for pools or classes near you, and you will get information about your location.
Some activities like running, cycling, etc., must stop during summer or monsoon season. But, one can continue lessons through all the seasons.
13. Good for Skin
If your pool uses salt instead of chemicals, it will give you more benefits. If you swim in salted water, it will be excellent for the skin. The benefits for the skin are many, as exercising in the salty water helps the skin to stay moist and helps in detoxification. It also promotes the growth of new skin cells. Therefore, the skin will feel smooth and healthy.
14. Improves Social Well Being – Benefits of swimming exercises
It is a social sport. People of different ages can take lessons and train together. If you are lucky enough to have a pool at home, you can enjoy the activity with your family and friends.
It is a team activity as classes are held together. Swimmers on teams or in swim classes have better team-building skills. Swimmers learn to work together, encourage each other and communicate. Mental health improves when exercising is combined with socializing.
15. Teaches Goal Orientation and discipline.
It teaches goal orientation and discipline. It gives learners something to strive for: improving lap time or recovering from an injury with water rehabilitation. Skills one learns in a the pool can also be used outside the pool.
It provides discipline when practised regularly and uninterruptedly. It gives a sense of achievement when your set goals are met and makes you more focused and result-oriented.
16. Slows Down Aging
It reduces blood pressure, increases muscle mass, improves oxygen and blood flow to the brain, and increases cardiovascular health. It delays the ageing process. Swimming exercise improves physical strength and balance in seniors. It also increases flexibility, reduces joint inflammation, and is a low-impact sport. Hence, it is one of the best physical activities for seniors.
17. Swimmers are More Confident
It builds confidence. It teaches confidence in the pool and open water, which translates to confidence on land.
Regular exercise improves memory function and thinking skills. It also improves mood, anxiety, and stress, which increases the brain’s ability to think more efficiently.
18. Minimum gear
It requires minimal gear. You only need a swimsuit and google max. As there is no age restriction to start learning how to swim, it is never too early or never too late. Jump in the pool, have fun and begin your exercise. Your life, health and outlook will improve.
19. Helps you stay flexible
It makes you stretch, twist, and pull through the water. Your body muscles and joints stretch as you push off against the water. Repetitive stretching in various swimming strokes helps you to stay flexible.
20. Gives Energy Boost
When you become inactive, you feel fatigued, and energy drains out quickly. Swimming enhances your mood, improves your heart and lungs, improves joint pains, ups your metabolic rate and gives you an energy boost.
Find a Pool.
To start swimming, you need to find a swimming pool near you. You can google for nearby swimming lessons or pools. You can check the timing that suits your schedule and visit to find out the facilities they offer and whether it is serving your budget.
The lessons could be private or in a group setting. You will learn how to float, move your feet and hands, breathing techniques and different strokes.
You must train your body and muscles before jumping in the water. Try some freehand exercise. You can also ask your trainer about this.
Below are a few essential accessories that help you during swimming.
A towel is required to dry yourself after swimming
- Using ear plugs can prevent water from getting in the ears.
- Goggles can protect the eyes from chlorinated water and improve your underwater visibility.
- Swim caps can protect the hair from chlorinated water.
- For elongated kicks and improved technique and speed, Swimfins are used.
- Inflatable armbands help the wearer to float as they provide buoyancy.
Swimming exercise is generally safe for all. But still, before starting any exercise, we advise you to visit your doctor and discuss with him. People with a heart condition, asthma or skin conditions like psoriasis should consult with their doctor and follow the guidelines prescribed by the physician.
Safety for Swimming exercise
- Always swim in designated swimming areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Drink plenty of water. You could get dehydrated while swimming.
- Children should not swim alone. They always should be supervised when near water.
- Adhere to the pool rules. These rules will protect you and ensure that you are safe and the swimming pool remains hygienic and germ-free.
- The tiled area around the swimming pool could be very slippery. Therefore do not run around and invite unnecessary injury.
- While getting out of the swimming pool, always use the handrails. It is accident-proof and easier for you to get out of the pool.
- Know your swimming capacity, and don’t try to overdo it.
What kind of exercise is swimming?
It is an excellent aerobics. It is also a cardio and strength training exercise.
Does it help to lose weight?
Swimming burns lots of calories. Moderately intense or vigorous swimming is beneficial for burning calories and creating a calorie deficit, resulting in losing weight.
Is it good for pregnant women?
Swimming is a low-impact, low-risk exercise that pregnant women can do through their trimesters. It is beneficial for the would-be mother and the baby.
- Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour. (2021, December 7). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999?pg=2
- Knechtle, B., Waśkiewicz, Z., Sousa, C. V., Hill, L., & Nikolaidis, P. T. (2020). Cold Water swimming-benefits and risks: A narrative review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(23), 8984. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238984
- (N.d.). Faa.gov. Retrieved August 2, 2022, from https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/swim/overview/benefits/