Nearly Perfect: 5 Reasons Why Swimming is an Ideal Workout
Not everyone enjoys going to the gym for a workout. It can be loud and busy, and suffering on the treadmill or gasping through a cycling class isn't everyone's cup of tea.
The pool, however, is a miniature sea of tranquility, an exercise paradise where silence rules all under the blue. No one's geeking out in front of mirrors, there's no clanging of weights, and no one's shouting at you to "Step, reach, step, clap!" And it turns out, swimming is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here's why.
- Swimming burns calories galore.
Swimming is anaerobic, meaning you can't breathe normally while doing it. While this doesn't sound like a really great idea on the surface, it's actually pretty terrific for burning calories. According to Swimming.org, just 30 minutes of leisurely swimming will burn 220 calories. That's about the same as jogging, only with a far lower risk of injury.
- It's a low-impact activity.
Those with chronic illness or pain find that these conditions can really limit their ability to stay active. Swimming is a great way to get physical activity for people with such conditions. Without the added pressure of holding the body upright on a bad pain day, those with mobility issues can still make sure they get in 30 minutes of exercise for the day. This is a huge boon to those with cerebral palsy, joint pain, sports injury, or any other number of limiting medical conditions.
- You can't help but work out your whole body.
Swimming requires your entire body. Whether you're doing the backstroke, breast stroke, or freestyle, you get all your limbs moving, and your core is naturally engaged. Every swim is a full-body workout, and thus, according to The New York Times, swimming is 25% more effective than running for staying fit.
- Sweat isn't an issue.
If you're not one to enjoy working up a good, hot sweat, then swimming might just end up being your favorite activity. You may still sweat while you swim, but you won't notice it in the least. The water keeps you cool as a cucumber despite a heavy-duty workout.
- Swimming is an excellent form of meditation.
The combination of smooth, rhythmic moves, deep focus, and the sensation of cutting through the water can trigger the same neurological response as meditation, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Swimming promotes mindfulness, which can be carried throughout your day, improving your ability to cope with stress outside of the pool.
It's not hard to see why swimming is one of the best forms of recreation and exercise. It has the power to heal both body and mind in a near weightless environment. With warmer seasons comes the added benefit of swimming outdoors and the peace that nature can bring. In the winter, the water can soothe aching bones, and there's always a quick dip in the hot tub afterwards to help you forget about the snow outside. No matter when or where it happens, swimming is one of those activities that you just can't help but enjoy, making it a perfect workout.