Why is swimming widely regarded as the best possible exercise out there? Because it incorporates every muscle of your body in order to perform. Even when you’re merely trying to stay above the water surface, you’re engaging in muscle activity, let alone if you’re doing cardio inside a pool. Water can help you get that sexy, toned body you’ve been craving since forever.
The Cardio Aspect
Go on and try it. Even an easy swim isn’t such a breeze if you’re out of shape – you’ll be huffing and puffing after no more than a couple of laps. However, when you get to the point where you can swim non-stop for 30 minutes, you’re looking at 250 burnt calories. While an easy swim torches a 500 calories per hour average, a vigorous swim can take away up to 700 calories in the same time frame.
The Muscle Aspect
This is where swimming beats all other cardio exercises like jogging, sprinting, hiking or biking: it can tone the hell out of your body. Water is 800 times denser than air, so every regular movement performed inside a pool is an exercise in itself. Even when you’re merely resting without holding onto anything and without your feet touching the bottom, you are incorporating every muscle inside your body, with an emphasis on the core, hips, arms, shoulders and glutes. Although cardio exercise does burn a good amount of fat, it is a common misconception that muscle workout only pumps you up. In order to use our muscles, we need a lot of energy, which is taken (naturally) from food. This means that, when engaging in muscle exercise, we use the carbs and calories derived from our meals to provide energy for a workout. This is another area which swimming excels at. If you swim for an hour at high intensity and switch up styles on a 10 minute basis, not only are you looking at 700 burnt calories, but lean muscle mass gain in addition.
Why is it that it’s Good for Anyone
Think back about any exercise you’ve ever performed. Now think back to the first day of each routine. Your joints were devastated, you had blisters on your feet or hands (perhaps both?) and most probably – your back was killing you. Well, being in water neutralizes the effect of gravity almost completely. This not only means no backache, but even benefits for your spine, shoulders and, well, basically everything. Furthermore, if you are recovering from an injury, there are centers with various trauma-exercise-oriented swimming pool designs out there, which can do wonders for broken bone recovery, back injuries and the like.
Jumping into a pool and going for a swim does wonders for one’s mind. Sinking your head under the surface dumbs down all the noise clutter out there and leaves you and your inner self’s voice all alone to think, contemplate and relax. It can even be said that by going for a pool dip means entering a world of your own, while all the trouble and strife of the daily life slowly ebb away. This way, you can approach your day-to-day problems from a more objective standpoint and start crossing them out, one by one. Furthermore, swimming decreases anxiety, depression and does wonder for mental health in general.
So why is swimming a potentially perfect way to exercise? Because its unique cardio and muscle exercise combo allows you to lose fat, while toning up naturally, gaining a lean muscle mass. Furthermore, it allows you to enter your own world, while you clear your head. There are more than a couple of swimming styles, but one thing is for certain – they all engage most of your body muscles, including the secondary ones and therefore improve your stability, readiness and form and shape in general.