The health benefits of swimming

The health benefits of swimming
The health benefits of swimming are well-documented, and it has long been recognised as the form of aerobic exercise which utilises more muscle groups to propel the body through the natural resistance of the water. It increases muscle tone, flexibility and strength, whilst also releasing endorphins, and thereby reducing stress levels. Swimming is a wonderful and effective way to burn off energy, with only a ten minute session of front-call disposing of 100 calories! The buoyancy of the water takes pressure off joints, making exercise that would be too painful on dry land attainable.

And a swimspa is a great place for friends and family to spend precious quality time, bringing people together in an interactive way that other forms of leisure activity can’t; whether you’re in the water, relaxing near it, or using it as a focal point for entertaining.

Having touched on the health benefits of swimming above, let’s have a closer look at some of the specific benefits of swimming and the evidence behind them.

Increased Longevity
In a study over a thirty two year period, it was discovered that those who swam had an astonishing 50% lower death rate than walkers, runners, or men who took no exercise.

Reduced stress, less likelihood of depression, and better brain function.
Swimming can induce feelings of happiness through the release of endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones released by the brain during exercise. Swimming also has a similar effect on the body as yoga, evoking a relaxation response, down to the repetitive stretching and relaxation of muscles combined with deep and regular breathing. The sound of your own breathing and splashing of the water wipes out other distractions and induces a meditative feeling.

Lowers risk of diabetes
Aerobic exercise is well known to powerfully reduce the risks of diabetes. A 30 minute session of breaststroke three times a week could burn up to 900 calories, reducing the risk of a man developing type 2 diabetes by more than 10%!

Improved cholesterol levels
The aerobic power of swimming has been shown to raise good HDL cholesterol levels and help keep them in the correct balance. For every 1% increase in HDL cholesterol, your risk of dying from heart disease reduces by 3.5%! Furthermore, aerobic exercises like swimming have also been shown in studies to help keep artery walls more flexible as they expand and contract.

Improvement in the symptoms of asthma
Swimmers, uniquely, exercise in humid air. This humidity has the effect of reducing the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. In addition to helping avoid asthma attacks, a study of children taking part in a six week long swimming programme saw improvements not only in the severity of their symptoms, but in other areas like snoring, mouth-breathing, hospitalisation and visits to A&E units. The study’s authors go on to say that even those without asthma could benefit from the positive effects of swimming on respiration, as it can increase lung capacity and promote correct breathing techniques.

Weight loss.
Swimming is well recognised as one of the most effective calorie burning exercises, and ideal for those looking to keep their weight under control. As a rule of thumb, though this will vary from person to person depending on body type and how vigorously one swims, 10 minutes of breaststroke burns 60 calories, 10 minutes of backstroke burns 80 calories, the same duration of front crawl disposes of 100 calories, and 10 minutes of butterfly burns-up an incredible 150 calories!

Better Heart Health
Swimming also has a beneficial effect on the body’s most important muscle, the heart. As an aerobic exercise, swimming helps strengthen the heart and improving its pumping efficiency, which in turn leads to improved blood flow through the body’s circulatory system. In one report just 30 minutes of exercise such as swimming per day can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 30% to 40%; and regular aerobic exercise could help reduce blood pressure.

Improved Flexibility
Swimming has positive effects on the flexibility of the body as it requires many components to go through a broad range of movements when performing a stroke. A swimspa is also a good place to practice static stretches, as it provides support for the body in positions where balance may be an issue.

Better Muscle Tone and Strength
Swimming is an excellent way of increasing your muscular strength and tone, especially compared with other forms of exercise. A swim is a full body resistance workout – and resistance work is the best way of building muscle tone and strength. Swimming has also been shown to improve bone strength, especially in women following the menopause.

Relief for sufferers of arthritis
Swimming enables you to exercise every part of your body without any jarring impacts to the skeletal system and joints thanks to water’s bouyancy. When up to your neck in water, you effectively weigh only 10% of your weight on dry land! So a swimspa provides the perfect location for people to exercise stiff joints and sore muscles, especially for those who may be overweight or suffering from arthritis, with the built-in hot tub seats providing further massage benefits . The Arthritis Foundation in the US and Arthritis Research UK recommend that those suffering with arthritis take exercise that stretches and strengthens muscles and gives an aerobic workout. Swimming a few lengths provides all three. If the water is warm, then all the better for those with arthritis as warm water has been shown to help loosen up stiff joints. Those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis get more health benefits through warm water hydrotherapy than any other activity, and studies also show that exercise in water reduces pain and improves the function of joints in sufferers of osteoarthritis

Now you’re availed of the many benefits afforded by regular swimming, click here to download your invaluable FREE! guide to the 6 things you need to know before you invest in a swim spa.

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