I love the water. However, I am not that great of a swimmer. That has been changing the last year. I put a new focus on learning to swim laps for exercise. I’ve always heard that it was a great way to exercise and now that I’ve done it, I understand why. You can read more about my story here. There are so many benefits to swimming. It takes the gross and sweaty part of exercise down a notch. So here is the list of reasons why swimming is the exercise you should start doing on a regular basis.
It’s Not so Gross
One thing that I don’t think anyone likes about exercise is dripping sweat. I like to go for a good run here and there. However, it always involves being hot, sticky, and stinky. Swimming is amazing for getting a true workout and feeling the burn without those side effects.
It’s Full Body
When you swim laps you are working so many different muscles. You have to center and hold yourself in the water. This takes control and core strength. You have to keep your core, your stomach, tight. You are doing a controlled and tight kicking motion repeated over and over, with the resistance water to push against. The burn works through your entire leg, from your foot to your thighs and glutes. Then of course you are using your arms to stroke through the water. This is such a full body work out; it is so great for cardio and strength.
It’s Low Body Stress
One of the big things with running and many other workouts is the stress that it puts on your body and joints. I injured my ankle one time and the stress it put on my ankle to try to even jog a little made it impossible for me to keep up running. This is actually when I started swimming. I wasn’t able to run, do most weights, even use a bicycle. However, going swimming I was able to not only work out but work my ankle without any gravity or real resistance putting undue stress on it. This was huge for me! Floating in the water takes away the stress of gravity.
It’s always important in any work out to control your oxygen intake. When you exercise your body requires enough oxygen delivering blood and nutrients to your muscles to be able to keep up your stamina. A lot of times we hold our breath or don’t take reasonable breaths while exercising and it restrict our ability to reach our full potential. When swimming laps, your face is in the water half the time. This makes it absolutely necessary to be controlling regular breathing. When your face is in the water you breath out. When your face comes out for 1 second you need to take a good breath in. This helped me gain discipline in my breathing. Which has in turn helped me improve my performance in other workouts.
I’m still working on becoming a good swimmer, but the improvements I’ve made have been huge. I always say you can’t compare yourself to where other people are at. I am in competition with myself. Where I used to be, and where I am now. And I will continue to improve. Do you have any tips for becoming a better swimmer? Or are you looking into starting swimming yourself?