HEALTH: Go out and swim this summer

“Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  That was what Edward Stanley said.

If you want to avoid getting those illnesses soon, check out a good exercise program.  One of those we highly recommend is swimming.  Have you ever watched the Olympics and found yourself in awe of the professional swimmers’ physiques? Their long, lean and toned muscular bodies seem to glide through the water effortlessly.

Swimmers are in fantastic shape and those who swim regularly know that they not only look great on the outside but feel just as great on the inside. The health benefits of swimming are almost unmatched by most any other sport.

Why is swimming so good? Swimming works your whole body, improving cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time. Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body’s use of oxygen without overworking your heart.

“Swimming with increasing effort to gradually increase your heart rate and stimulate your muscle activity is easily accomplished in the water,” explains Mathew Luebbers, a professional American coach, working with all ages of competitive swimmers, fitness swimmers, and triathletes. “After a land workout, swimming a few laps can help you cool-down, move blood through your muscles to help them recover, and help you relax as you glide through the water.”

As you become fitter and are able to swim longer, your resting heart rate and respiratory rate will be reduced, making blood flow to the heart and lungs more efficient. If you’re looking to lose weight, swimming is just the ticket.

While most of the exercises concentrate on a single section of your muscles, swimming exercise works all your muscles. It works on overall muscles and helps strengthen them. One of the swimming health facts is that it promotes fat loss. It is best exercise to burn calories and lose body weight.

“On average,” points out the Lifescript Editorial Staff, “a swimmer can burn as many calories in an hour as a runner who runs six miles in one hour.”  No wonder, some experts call swimming the perfect form of exercise.

What’s good and healthy about swimming is that it also helps regulate your breathing pattern and it also increases the oxygen flow towards your muscles. It further helps improve the blood circulation. Swimming is also known to be good physically challenged people. With swimming, health problems like leg pain and backache can be effectively cured.

The Lifescript Editorial Staff shares these additional health benefits of swimming:

·  Whole body conditioning: Swimming tones your upper and lower body because you’re using almost all of your major muscle groups. The best strokes for all-over body toning are the freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke.

· Low risk of injury: There is a low risk for swimming injuries because there’s no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy and the fact that you weigh 1/10th less in water. If you’re looking for a safe daily workout routine, swimming is ideal because you can rigorously work out with a reduced chance of swimming injuries. Many athletes supplement their training with swimming.

· Low-impact exercise: So many people can reap the benefits of swimming. Pregnant women benefit from swimming because it helps strengthen the shoulder and abdominal muscles, which can be strained when carrying a baby. The elderly, women who have had a mastectomy and those recovering from an injury often turn to swimming or water aerobic exercises because it’s low impact, helps relax stiff muscles and isn’t weight-bearing. Swimming also increases circulation.

· Improve blood pressure: Studies have shown that a workout routine that includes swimming can help reduce and possibly prevent high blood pressure, which lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke.

· Stress reduction: You don’t have to be a water sign in the zodiac to feel the meditative and healing properties of water. Swimming is extremely relaxing because it allows more oxygen to flow to your muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing. It’s also a great way to relieve stress. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so it’s no wonder why some feel such a draw to the water.

There are other psychological benefits of swimming, if you allow it to occur.  Relax and swim with a very low effort – focusing on the rhythm of your stroke.  This form of meditation can help you gain a feeling of well-being, leaving your water session refreshed and ready to go on with the rest of your day.

Many swimmers find indirect benefit from swimming.  They develop life skills such as sportsmanship, time management, self-discipline, goal setting, and an increased sense of self-worth through their participation in the sport.

In addition, spending time in a group workout, whether water aerobics or a master’s swim practice, is a great social outlet.   Exchanging stories, challenging each other, and sharing in the hard work make swimming with others a rewarding experience.

One swimming health tip would be to follow the right diet to complement swimming health benefits. Also, to gain maximum swimming health benefits, you must do it regularly. If you have a medical history of health conditions, it is best to consult a medical practitioner before you opt for swimming. Following the swimming pool safety rules and regulations will help you enjoy your time along with improving your health.

Now, have fun in the water!