14 Health Benefits of Swimming

Health Insurance Plans Starts at Rs.44/day*

What is swimming

Swimming is a sport that is played throughout the world. Swimming involves the movement of the whole body to move through the water. Swimming can be carried out in small pools, rivers, ponds and wells.   

Swimming is known for its whole-body exercise, and it is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on joints. Swimming is one of the Olympic sports.

History of Swimming  

Swimming has a rich history and dates back to the 17th century. Swimming has its origin in Egypt as a leisure sport around the 25th century.  

In Greece and Rome, swimming was a part of martial training and elementary education for males. It is also believed that they built their own swimming pools apart from their baths.

There are few pieces of evidence stating that swimming races took place in Japan around the 1st century BCE. Natives from Pacific Islands taught their children to swim even before they learned how to walk.  

Swimming origin was rooted in leisure but soon evolved as a competition. The first competition was held in Australia in the year 1846.  

The first swimming organisation was started in the year 1837 in London and was named England’s National Swimming Society. It was renamed in the year 1874 as the Swimming Association of Great Britain. The first Olympic games were held in 1869 in Athens.

Benefits of swimming  

Swimming helps you to burn a lot of calories and is also easy on joints. It helps you to maintain weight, gain muscle strength and improve endurance.  

It is one of the safe and healthy sports/exercises that can be carried out even as you age. Some of the benefits of swimming are listed below:

Builds endurance  

Swimming is considered an aerobic exercise, as you breathe consistently throughout the swim time. To build swimming endurance, you need excellent aerobic capabilities.  

Endurance is the ability of the muscle to perform repeated submaximal contractions over time. It helps to increase your body’s overall endurance. Swimming is one of the exercises that are more effective than running and weight training.  

The low-impact nature of the sport is the reason athletes turn to swim. It is not very hard on your joints but is as effective as the workouts you do in the gym and also builds endurance.  

Muscle strength  

In swimming, muscle strength is important to swim it is the force that your muscle can exert in water. The muscular strength applied helps you to move forward in the water.  

According to a professional swimmer, the water is the resistance that the muscle should overcome, and the muscle adapts to the condition and becomes stronger.  

For people who swim consistently, their muscles will get adapted to the condition. So, the water resistance will no longer help them to challenge and develop muscles. In such cases, swimmers opt for additional strength training.

Regulate blood sugar

Swimming is a great form of leisure activity. People with Diabetes should have physical activity at least for an hour every day. And this can be stressful if people miss their routine.

It is a cardiovascular workout for people with Diabetes and also helps to maintain the sugar levels in the blood. Diabetics should take care of their legs and eyes while swimming.   

It is better to wear flip-flops in the swimming pool and around the pool. Notice any change in the colour of your foot or how your foot reacts after a swim session. If there are any changes or changes in colour, consult your healthcare team.

Good for people with disabilities 

People go for a walk or do some other activity to calm down when they are stressed. It is not the same with people who have a disability.  

The National Autism Association reported that drowning is the leading cause of death for people with autism. Swimming helps to reduce pain in people with Multiple sclerosis and Arthritis. It also helps to improve motor responses.  

As swimming involves hand and leg movement together, there will be a boost in motor responses. A recreational activity like swimming helps children with disability. It boosts confidence and also helps to have a good family connection.

Cardiovascular fitness  

Swimming is a cardiovascular activity that raises your heart rate and helps your body to consume more oxygen. Walking often holds the golden standard for cardiovascular fitness, as it does not require any special equipment or place.  

Swimming, by comparison, is also good for cardiovascular fitness. Swimming works best for the heart and lungs. Swimming trains the body to use oxygen efficiently. There is a movement of the whole body, which improves strength and flexibility.  

The other side of swimming is it will let you calm down by drifting your mind by focusing on breathing and movements. The stress-busting feature makes it the best cardiovascular fitness.

Healthy heart  

Swimming is a great recreational activity that helps to keep your heart healthy and also guards against coronary diseases. A lower heart resting rate signifies more efficient heart function at pumping blood.  

A normal human has a heart resting rate between 60 to 100 per minute. An athlete’s heart resting rate ranges from 40-60 per minute.  

Swimming also helps to keep your blood pressure in check. It strengthens the heart and regulates the blood flow throughout the body without any constraints.  

Healthy lungs  

The lungs are a unique organ. It lives deep down, but still, it has wholesome exposure to the outer world.  

Swimming can help your lungs to become bigger, which makes them more efficient for breathing. Swimming improves your cardio-pulmonary system, responding to increased physical activity. It also enhances your breath endurance through breath control.  

Marathon runners and athletes can gasp at any time whenever they want. This is not the same for the swimmers. They are restricted to the stroke movement and have limited time to breathe the air needed.  

The next breath is not always available at the next instant moment. So, your body is forced to adapt to the condition and wait a little longer to capture the required air.  

This helps to enhance your breathing endurance. Swimming helps to improve your core strength. Whenever you breathe in and out, certain muscles are involved in the action. Some strength is required to do that process, and swimming helps to have a stronger respiratory muscle.

Swimming reduces stress

Swimming is a powerful way to reduce daily stress. Whenever we wake up in the morning and take a bath, we always feel fresh.  

Water has the ability to soothe you down. Water helps to loosen your body and mind. In case you are immersed in water, blood flow to the brain increases, which helps increase the supply of oxygen and creates a positive impact.

It helps you slim down

Swimming is a very good form of workout. The water helps to create resistance when you are swimming and forces you to use your muscles.  

It tones your body and gives a full-body workout, and helps to reduce your belly fat very easily; still, spot reduction is a myth. When you swim, the whole body is in motion, and it burns calories. So, it helps to shed the extra calories you gained.  

Swimming vigorously for an hour can burn 800 calories, and at a moderate pace for 30 minutes can help you burn around 250 calories.

It’s good for your joints

To keep your joints healthy, it is important to keep moving. It helps to reduce stiffness and improves synovial movement, and keeps your bones healthy.  

Swimming makes your whole-body flexible and also helps you to relax. People with injury and recovering from an injury can use swimming to recover from pain.  

Swimming helps to maintain fluidity in joints and also activates muscle groups, which keeps you healthy and active. Swimming makes your recovery pain-free.  

Asthma

Swimming is recommended for adults and children with Asthma as a good form of exercise. The traditional style of swimming is recommended for people with Asthma as it may be less proactive.  

There is no clear evidence of whether swimming will mitigate or aggravate Asthma. Before trying any new form of exercise, it is always good to consult your doctor.  

Improves your sleep

Swimming makes you tired, as there is a movement of full body and muscles. So, your body will be naturally tired and will want to rest.  

This helps you to sleep well, and disorders like Insomnia can be reduced. It will not make you too tired or stress your body. The stress and anxiety can be relieved when you swim.  

Swimming regularly for half an hour helps to reduce stress and depression, which in turn helps you to have a healthy sleep cycle. When you swim, your body releases the hormone endorphin, which is also called the ‘feel good’ hormone. It naturally makes you feel good and helps you to sleep better.

Boosts your mood

Swimming helps to improve your mood and socially interact with people. Swimming can be carried out as a team sport too.  

There are many swimming clubs, where you get to meet more people, and you can exchange tips, tricks and also your experience of swimming.  

You can also get along with like-minded people, and a new hobby is there for you to relax. It also helps to interact better with people.  

Safe during pregnancy

Being a woman and also pregnant, every time you turn around somewhere, you get to hear an extra no.  

People give a list of things that should not be done, but not about what all can be done. You have a feeling that nothing is safe for you and your child.  

There is a list of a few things that can be carried out during your pregnancy, and also you can enjoy all the activities. One among them is swimming.  

There are still a few restrictions; women with certain medical conditions cannot carry out swimming. It is always advised to get your doctor’s opinion before taking up any exercise.  

Swimming is considered to be the safest form of exercise during pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. It will not make you tired or stressed and helps you to sleep well.

Types of swimming  

Freestyle  

Freestyle or front crawl is a style of swimming where your body uses core and abdomen muscles, forearms, glutes and hamstring and shoulder muscles. Freestyle swimming gives you maximum speed with minimal effort.  

Freestyle is a prone horizontal position where your face is down. Flutter kicks and alternate arm movement helps your body to move forward in the water. The legs move alternatively, and compact kicks in water are required to keep the feet pointed.  

The arms are used to pull the water back, and your body moves forward. Breathing is done sideways when the arm and head come out of the water sideways for recovery.  

The shoulders, head and arms come out, and breathing is done quickly. The air is exhaled inside the water.  

A front crawl is considered the more efficient and fastest swimming stroke because the drag is minimum during the arm recovery as the hands are pointed, and the other arm is always pulling the water.

Backstrokes

The backstroke is where the head is faced up in a neutral position. It is similar to the front crawl type, except the face is down. The flutter kick is quick and compact.  

The arms pull the water beneath the back, and the body moves backwards. The backstroke style of swimming is considered the third fastest.  

There is an advantage in backstroke where the head is always above water and breathing is not restricted.  

The muscles involved in backstroke are the rotator cuff, subscapularis and teres minor. For people with back pain, doctors advise them to try this type of stroke as it helps them to relax and straighten the muscles.

Breaststroke  

The breaststroke of swimming also occurs in the prone position. The body is forced from a horizontal position to an inclined position, and the movement occurs in breaststroke. There will be frog-like kicks and simultaneous hand movements inside the water, which helps the body to glide through the water and move forward.  

The legs are bent and then kicked outside water to project the body forward. The arm movements will be simultaneous and symmetrical. The hands make an arc from an extended forward position to below the chest. In breaststroke, during the recovery phase, the hands move in a straight line.  

Breathing takes place at the end of propulsion, where the head is above water, and the hands are beneath the chest. The muscles involved in breaststroke swimming are the pectoral and latissimus dorsi, glutes and quadriceps are used to kick the water.  

The breaststroke swimming style is considered the slowest among the other types. When people learn swimming, the breaststroke swimming technique is taught first because most of the time, the head is above water.  

Butterfly

The butterfly stroke of swimming is considered the hardest for many swimmers. It is exhausting and requires arduous effort compared to the other styles of swimming.  

The body executes a wave-like movement. The chest and hip move up and down the water. The legs stay together and straight, depicting dolphin-like motion. The movement of arms will be symmetrical, tracing an hourglass-like motion in water.  

Breathing occurs when the head and chest are lifted above water. The butterfly stroke is considered very tiring and not recommended for recreational purposes.  

The muscles involved in butterfly stroke are the core abdominal and lower back, glutes, pecs lasts, quads, hamstring, calves, shoulders, biceps and triceps.

Sidestroke

Sidestroke required one arm with asymmetrical arm movements and scissor kicks. The body will be in a sidewards position, and the head will always be above water. The scissor kicks movement helps the body to move forward in the water. The arm movement will be asymmetrical and random. The head is always above the water, so there is no restriction on breathing. Sidestroke is one of the oldest styles of swimming that is used to rescue someone from drowning.

Risk of swimming

It increases the risk of certain injuries

Swimming is a sport and recreational hobby that is enjoyed by all groups. It is one of the unique sports that involves a whole-body workout. Though swimming has its own set of benefits, there are some disadvantages too.  

Neck and shoulder injuries are common in swimming. Some of which are irritation and inflammation in the shoulders, rotator cuff tears, tears in cartilage around the shoulder socket, neck and low back pain and bicep tendonitis. Too much swimming can result in knee injuries.  

Stress on the knees can result in pain in or around the kneecap. Some of the causes of swimming injuries are overtraining, not resting properly, improper breathing techniques and stroke mechanism. These injuries can be prevented by proper warm-up exercises.

Fungal infections

Summer is around the corner, and you would like to plunge yourself into the water. It is important to take precautions before diving into the water.  

Public pools and indoor pools lodge innumerable fungal and pathogen communities. Fungal infections are common when you use public swimming pools.  

One such common fungal infection is the athlete’s foot. It is an infection that develops between your toes and toenails. It usually causes cracked and scaly rashes, itches and burns. It is a contagious disease and can spread easily from an infected person.  

Precautions can be taken to avoid getting infected. Always wear a flip-flop near the pool. Dry your foot when you get out of the pool.  

Skin rashes are common when you use public pools. It irritates your skin and then leads to rashes. This irritation is caused by chlorine.  

Rashes develop in people who are more frequently exposed to chlorine and also people who are sensitive to chemicals. But chlorine is used in pools to kill the development of bacteria. Too much chlorine can be harmful and can cause skin and eye irritation.  

After your swimming session, always shower with fresh water to get rid of the chemicals and also infections.

Pseudomonas dermatitis or hot-tub folliculitis is an infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The organism grows in warm and wet areas. You can develop such infections after swimming in bacterial-contaminated pools.  

Contamination often occurs in pools where disinfectants are not maintained at the proper levels. Always take proper precautions before using a public pool and consult your doctor if the infection doesn’t settle within a week.

Conclusion 

If you want to take a break from your stress-free life and develop a new hobby, swimming is something you can try. Swimming helps you to shed some calories and also calms you down. Summer being around the corner, swimming will be the best option. After your swimming sessions, always drink a lot of water and take the necessary breaks within your session.

FAQ

1.Is it possible to burn stomach fat by swimming?

Yes, it is possible to burn stomach fat by swimming.

2.What kind of exercise is swimming?

Swimming is an aerobic form of exercise.

3.What are the benefits of swimming?

It helps you to build muscles and increases your cardiovascular fitness.

4.How long do you need to swim to get a good workout?

Swimming for thirty minutes can help you burn 250 calories.

5.What are the 5 benefits of swimming?

Swimming helps you to regulate blood sugar levels, builds endurance, improves your mood and sleep cycle and reduces stress.

6.Is it good to swim every day?

Swimming every day is a good form of cardio workout.

7. Can swimming reduce belly fat?

Swimming helps to reduce your belly fat.

9.Is swimming better than the gym?

Swimming involves a whole body workout and better cardio exercise.

10. Is swimming good for the skin?

Swimming in the sea is good for the skin, whereas swimming in chlorinated pools may cause acne on the skin.


DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG/WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

Scroll to Top