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Do you need a new fitness regimen? The new year is here, and that means it’s time to set your resolutions. Have you considered the life aquatic?
Getting in the water offers a host of advantages over land-based workouts. Here are eight benefits of swimming for exercise that will have you donning your bathing suit in no time.
You can torch as many calories swimming as you do on land. A single 30-minute workout burns 300 calories if you hit it hard.
You don’t have to move as quickly as you do on land to work your muscles. The water adds extra resistance, making it akin to strapping on weights around your arms and legs. It takes considerably more effort to walk 25 yards across an Olympic-sized pool than it does to perform the same trek on the shore.
Why do water-based workouts seem so much easier, then? The perception stems from the fact that you don’t sweat.
In reality, you perspire in water-based workouts, too. However, the water immediately whisks it away, leaving you feeling cooler. Plus, water has a higher heat capacity, meaning that the pool or lake temperatures remain more stable than those on the surrounding shore. While you might need to shed layers halfway through a run, you won’t face the same problem when submerged.
One substantial benefit of swimming for exercise is making movement more comfortable for those with chronic pain. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the mere thought of going for a run might make your knees scream.
However, chest-level water supports 80% of your body weight, making it more comfortable for you to stand. Even if you wouldn’t dream of doing jumping jacks on a hard surface due to the pain, you could find them a piece of cake once submerged.
Maybe you heard about the recent viral Tik Tok video of a 9-months- pregnant woman who ran a mile in an impressive time. Please don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you can’t imitate her feat — it might not be safe.
Exercise does help reduce the risk of complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes among pregnant women. However, their shifting center of gravity can leave them feeling unbalanced on land, and they don’t want to fall on their belly. Water workouts eliminate risk and impact while letting mamas-to-be get the movement they need.
If you visit nearly any aqua aerobics class, you’ll see participants of various ages taking part. Water workouts benefit the young and old alike.
Swimming for exercise has considerable benefits for seniors who face mobility challenges. Like pregnant women, they may fear falling — but the water cushions them if they trip in the pool.
Many physical therapy centers have pools for a good reason. The water’s buoyancy of the water makes it an ideal tool in speeding recovery.
Letting sprained and broken limbs rest is necessary for healing. However, it can cause the muscles surrounding the injury to atrophy, making it more likely you can get hurt again if you jump back into your previous routine.
Instead, try taking your workouts in the water. Let the buoyancy support your body weight as you walk or jog your laps. You’ll build back the muscle tone you lost, making your return to land-based workouts less hazardous.
Having a chronic illness presents a Catch-22 for many. Conditions such as ME/CFS and newer syndromes like those experienced by COVID-19 long-haulers can cause debilitating fatigue. However, physicians often recommend mild physical activity to improve energy levels.
How can these folks reap the benefits of movement when they can barely get out of bed? Swimming for exercise offers one solution. Aquatic workouts don’t kill your motivation before you start by making you dread the pain that follows.
Finally, any workout helps to ease anxiety and depression. Exercise increases your body’s flow of feel-good endorphins, natural opioid-like substances that kill pain and give you pep.
Additionally, exercise also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. All three neurotransmitters play vital roles in regulating your mood.
As you can see, swimming offers tons of physical and mental health advantages. Reap the benefits of swimming for exercise today to look and feel your best.