This winter I am going to hang up the trainers – well, once a week – and take up swimming. And this is why…
Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to your skeletal system. This means that the pool provides an ideal place to work stiff muscles and sore joints – perfect after a full year of running.
Once you start swimming regularly, it won’t take you long to go from flabby to fit. Swimming is a great way to increase muscular strength and muscle tone — especially compared to several other aerobic exercises. Unlike exercise machines in a gym that tend to isolate one body part at a time (like a bicep curl machine, for example); swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible. The arms move in wide arcs, the hips are engaged as the legs scissor through the water, and the head and spine twist from side to side. Plus, with every stroke, as you reach forward, you’re lengthening the body, which not only makes it more efficient in the water; it also helps give you a good stretch from head to toe.
When it comes to your overall heart health this is a great form of exercise, as it makes your heart more efficient which leads to better blood flow throughout your body. The American Heart Association reports that just 30 minutes of exercise per day, such as swimming, can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 40%. More than this, swimming is also great at reducing cholesterol. Studies have shown that swimming can also keep your endothelium in good shape. What’s your endothelium, you might wonder? It’s the thin layer of cells that lines your arteries, and it tends to lose flexibility as you age.
I don’t think I could ask for anything else from an exercise session, could you?