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Jul 30, 2012

Why Swimming is great for your health

It's finally beginning to feel like we are teetering on the edge of some warm, sunny weather..... I hope!  The mornings are getting slightly lighter, albeit still a bit nippy.. BUT it’s not too early to start thinking about making a splash and introducing some swimming into your exercise regime.

There is a general consensus that swimming is an ineffective form of exercise when compared to weights training or running, but it all comes down to what you're trying to achieve.

If weight loss is your sole goal, then I would tend to agree that swimming may not be the best way to shed some kilos, but for maintaining fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle swimming is a perfect cross training activity. You don’t have to rely on it exclusively!


Not convinced?

  1. Its easy on our joints: Unlike pounding the pavement the buoyancy of water counteracts the effect of gravity, making swimming a low impact exercise form that’s great for your joints. When you're completely immersed in water, you're only responsible for 10% of your body weight, the pool takes care of the other 90%. This is extremely important as we get older and we begin to develop wear and tear particularly of our weight-bearing joints such as our knees.
  2. Healthy Heart: Yes swimming is great for our ticker! and an excellent form of aerobic conditioning for our entire cardiopulmonary (heart and lungs) system.
  3. Strong Spine: Swimming conditions certain muscle groups that are important in maintaining posture, particularly those around the shoulder and through the mid back.
  4. Weight Loss: you can make swimming an incredibly challenging workout. Add in some intervals, mix up the strokes and use your kick board and pool buoy to get a full body workout that can burn some serious calories.
  5. Tones your muscles: Water is denser than air, just to propel yourself though it you are working against resistance which does wonders for your upper body tone. ( Girls don't worry you WILL NOT get big broad shoulders from swimming 1-2 x per week)
  6. Makes you longer and leaner: Swimming requires the co-activation of many different muscle groups and can assist in stretching out some of the short dense muscles that we build during weight training.
  7. Asthma sufferer? The moist environment can help reduce exercise induced asthma with some studies showing an improvement in the overall condition by encouraging breathing control and improving lung function.
  8. Muscle recovery: Following a land workout doing an easy swim session can help assist with muscle recovery and relaxation and can also reduce post exercise soreness.
  9. Rehabilitation: Pool based activity and swimming is often a great rehabilitation exercise for people recovering from certain injuries such as knee surgery or a back injury. (Speak to your physiotherapist if this applies to you)

Not sure where to swim?  Don't let the weather spoil the fun, Cook and Phillip and Macquarie University are two great indoor facilities. If your lucky enough to be a member of Royal Sydney or the SFS both pools are heated and open all year round. For those brave enough Bondi Icebergs is an option, its cold and sometimes a little choppy... And when its open Boy Charlton provides a picturesque start to the morning!

So as the mercury rises this summer make a splash in a pool near you! You may actually enjoy it...

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Categories General Issues Tags swimming exercise fitness rehabilitation