10 Benefits to Swimming

How to Size a Pool Filter
by Rob Cox June 29, 2013

Summer Pool Workout

Summer Swimming

 

William Wilson wrote in his 1883 book, The Swimming Instructor, "The experienced swimmer, when in the water, may be classed among the happiest of mortals in the happiest of moods, and in the most complete enjoyment of the happiest of exercises."

Summer is here, it's time to take advantage of the unique exercise potential of your backyard pool or local pool.

Every summer, once the water is warm, I start an exercise program in my pool. I swim. 1000 yds / 3-4 times per week. I started early this year, June 7th.

 

It's amazing at how quickly swimming restores my muscle tone, and although I've not stepped on a scale, I've slimmed down by at least 5 lbs. After just a few weeks of swimming, I get very visible results. A slimmer, tanner me. :-)

I don't swim year 'round, or do much other exercise at other times of the year, now is the time to squeeze 12 months of fitness into 3 short months, or until the water gets too cold, whichever comes first!

Benefits of Swimming

1. Very little exercise gear needed

A pair of shorts, some good goggles and a towel is all that's needed. Oh, and a pool of course. I do my laps at the local swim club, where I can swim a decent length before turning around.

2. Burns more calories than most other exercises

About 800 Calories per hour. My little 1000 yd swim workout takes just over 30 minutes, so I suppose it's something near 400 calories. Not too bad!

3. Don't need to shower afterwards

And there's nothing quite as fresh feeling as coming from the pool after a good swim. Bonus if you get to drip dry in the mid-day sun. However, you should shower before you swim, to keep bacteria, oils and soaps from entering the pool.

4. So meditative; clears the mind

The rhythmic breathing and repetitive motion can put you into a trance. Same for biking and running, but in the water world, you can let go a bit more, and clear your mind of the day's thoughts.

5. Exercises nearly every muscle group on the body

Swimming is a complete exercise, working the body from your head to your toes. The resistance of the water surrounding a swimmer gives the whole body a workout, especially if you mix up the strokes.

6. Buoyancy of water supports 90% of your body weight

When you are in the water in a prone position, 90% of your body is supported by the water, making you feel light as a feather. In addition, the surrounding water resistance protects your body, by being a very low-impact exercise. 

7. Improves muscle strength and bone tone

Swimming tones and strengthens muscles. It's not an exercise for bulking up, it's one for slimming down. But did you know that swimming also works to strengthen bones? It's True!

8. Improves breathing capacity

A swimming study of children in China found that swimming improves lung volume and technique, resulting in less mouth-breathing and snoring, and reduced difficulties with asthma.

9. Good for your Heart

Swimming is an aerobic exercise, which elevates your heart rate and contributes to better cardiac and circulatory health. It can really get your heart pumping!Vitamin D from the Sun

10. Vitamin D

Can't deny the summer tan! I take my swims during the sunny part of the day, and manage to squeeze in a little sun before and after my swim.  

 

Other Pool Fitness Ideas

Swimming laps isn't for everyone, I understand. I grew up on swim teams, so it's comfortable for me. But there are many other ways to exercise in your pool.

The Home Swimmer Stationary Swim System has done away with the flip turn. Attach the belt to your waist and swim against the resistance of a heavy rubber cord.

Pool Basketball - A rousing game of pool basketball, can really burn some calories. For more aerobic effect, place the backboard in the deep end of the pool, requiring constant treading water.

Pool Aerobics - Using some floatation device, like the AquaJogger or a pool noodle, you can perform dozens of different routines to tone specific parts of the body.

Jumping Jacks - Done in the deep end of the pool, and differently than on land. Start in a crouched position on the deep end floor, and spring up, pulling your arms down. When you break the surface take a big breath of air. Then use your arms to pull up on the water, to force you back down to the bottom, into the starting position. Repeat.

 

- Rob

 

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