The quest for weight loss is definitely a struggle, and while the battle is mostly won in the kitchen, there’s no doubt that getting some solid exercise in will really help you melt the pounds of fat off of your body.
Now, if you’re a fan of swimming, you’re in luck: it’s a great way to incorporate regular exercise into your routine and is arguably the best type of exercise to do as well. Swimming can take transform your muscles and turn you into a mean, lean cardio machine.
It can also help you turn back the aging clock, especially if you’ve already done some serious damage to your health by living an unhealthy lifestyle. But why is swimming so good for weight loss? For those who aren’t convinced that jumping into the pool is a good idea for weight loss, read on for solid reasons to suit up and dive in.
Swimming is Kind to Your Body (a.k.a. It’s Low Impact)
Did you know that swimming is the most recommended exercise for injured athletes? That’s because it’s a low impact exercise that minimizes risk for further injury while still keeping the athlete in shape. Similarly, swimming is great for overweight people who have a tough time exercising due to joint issues.
The low impact nature of the sport could also mean that you see more results than you would with other exercises. When you’re swimming, you can go as high in intensity as you can manage without actually feeling wear and tear in your body afterwards. This means that you can have an incredibly intense workout in the pool today and be perfectly fine for another workout tomorrow.
Swimming Does Wonders for Your Lungs
Obviously, you’re not going to be able to get as much oxygen as you normally would if your face is under water. Because of this, your body naturally starts learning to use the oxygen you get during breaths much more efficiently. This helps your body adapt in the long run and manage its oxygen better overall. Some ways it does this is by taking in much more fresh air with every breath.
At the same time, you expel much more carbon dioxide when you exhale. The volume of air that flows in and out of our lungs when we breathe is called tidal volume, and research shows that swimmers have much higher tidal volume that runners. It’s this incredible adaptation that occurs in the body that has more and more parents enrolling children with asthma into swim classes. With better tidal volume comes lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure and better physical performance over all.
Swimming is Both Cardio and Strength Training
The thing about swimming is that when you stop moving, you start sinking. With any constant movement, you end up with (surprise, surprise!) cardio. When you take into account the fact that water is about 800 times the density of air, you’re pretty much guaranteed strength training because your muscles are under constant resistance just to complete your strokes.
You don’t have to worry about skill level for this strength training either. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned swimmer, swimming is a great way to burn the fat off your body and tone your muscles at the same time. If you’re just starting out, try setting goals for yourself in terms of the distance that you will aim to swim. As you progress and gain experience, you can start adding intervals to your workouts and get to work on toning your body.
Swimming is Great for All People
No matter how old you are or how fit you are, swimming will always be a great workout option for you. Like we mentioned earlier, swimming is the recommended workout for injured people, whether athlete or not, and it’s also a great way for pregnant women to continue getting physical activity in. Swimming is also the workout of choice for new moms and for morbidly obese individuals who can’t stand on their own two feet just yet. No matter what your level of fitness, you’re in charge. You set your pace and your intensity, and ultimately, the results of your workout.
Swimming Makes You A Better Athlete
Remember that increased tidal volume that we mentioned earlier? That’s a huge help when it comes to increasing your endurance capacity. Seriously, we’re talking huge improvements! Because your body is utilizing oxygen more efficiently, it helps you perform better with other sports as well – running in particular.
Regular swimming training will help you run much faster without getting as winded as you used to. Studies have also shown that swimmers who train with a controlled breathing technique, this means taking only two breaths per pool length, can see up to 6% increases in their running economy after only 12 sessions.
Apart from oxygen use, swimming also trains major muscle groups in your body such as. Your core, your shoulders, your hamstrings and your glutes, all of which are tremendously important when it comes to maintaining a good running form.
Swimming Forces You to Work Underutilized Muscles
Off the top of your head, what do you think are the muscles that you use the least in your daily life? Well, think about it this way: you don’t stand around or work at your desk with arms constantly held over your head, do you? This likely means that you rarely use your laterals, traps and deltoids in your arms from during your day to day activities.
When you’re in the pool and working on your laps, however, your arms need to go all over the place to get you from point A to point B. All of those muscles you were previously not using are now suddenly being utilized, which means you’re training and making use of muscles that you would otherwise ignore.
Swimming is actually also great for targeting your core and lower back, two areas that we often ignore while working out, because swimming requires staying level and balanced in the water.