9 Good Reasons To Swim
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Recently, United States Masters
Swimming (www.usms.org) issued a press release reminding those
with active lifestyles that fitness swimming can be a "rigorous, effective
fitness workout - and be fun in the process."
While this may seem obvious to readers
of this column who are habitual swimmers, there are athletes out there who
think pools are strictly child's play or summer fun. There is also a widely
circulated fallacy that swimming is not an effective form of weight loss.
Therefore it seems appropriate to
offer a brief recap of the reasons why everyone can benefit from swimming as a
primary, secondary, or alternative form of physical fitness to complement their
1. Heart helper
provides unparalleled cardiovascular conditioning, provided you practice
consistently and with good technique. While other forms of exercise may be more
effective at elite levels (such as running or cycling), incorporating swimming
into a cross-training routine and pushing yourself in practice will result in
overall improved fitness.
2. Balance your build
Swimming builds longer, leaner muscles that complement the shorter denser
muscles that develop from weight training. These "swimmer's" muscles also help
boost metabolism to keep calories burning longer.
not only boosts cardiovascular capacity while increasing muscle strength, but
it also gives your body a break from higher-impact activities like basketball,
running, and weightlifting. By creating a balanced workout routine, athletes
avoid injury by allowing their body time to heal, while not forgoing daily
4. Increased flexibility
heated pool relaxes muscles, increasing flexibility and enabling important
stretching. Also, after intense lactic-acid-building endurance workouts
(running, cycling, weights), an easy swim helps flush out toxins preventing
muscle tightness and soreness the following day.
5. Strengthen your core
Swimming develops core body strength because it utilizes all the body's muscles
simultaneously. Although 70% of a swimmer's effort comes from the upper body,
kickboard and fin workouts can provide an excellent leg workout.
able to swim longer than they can sustain other activities. With the right
technique, a swimmer will be able to train for longer periods of time than if
he/she were running and as a result, more calories are burned.
branched out from the darkened, indoor community pools of yesteryear. Many new
health club chains offer clean lap pools, and local communities are finding
renewed interest in outdoor facilities during the summer months. Seek out
available natatoriums in your area (www.swimmersguide.com) and if you are able, locate a
natural body of water (lake, ocean, pond, or quarry) and explore the joys of
8. Social outlet
meeting the man/woman of your dreams, and seeing what they look like without
their clothes on for your first date! That's one benefit, at least, of joining
a masters team or triathlon training group. In addition to the possibility of
romance fueled by mutual interests, team programs offer peer motivation and
professional coaching to provide you with increased performance results.
9. Weight loss
consistently swim strenuously enough to be out of breath when they finish, and
elevate their heart rate, do burn calories and lose weight," says Jane Moore,
M.D., a physician and active swimmer from Tacoma, Wash. "The key is to push
yourself a bit."
Putting on a swimsuit and appearing in
public should also motivate one to shed a few pounds, says Kris Houchens, head
coach of the YMCA Indianapolis SwimFit Masters.
Whatever your reason, or whatever the
excuse of a friend or partner, that swimming has not been incorporated into a
consistent fitness routine, the list above should illuminate the ways in which
the sport can add to your quality of life.
Consider making a positive change and
research the swimming opportunities in your community today!