Taking up swimming is not only fun, but also good for your health. If you're considering joining a swimming club, go ahead and take the plunge. Here are four ways your body will benefit.
Better cardiovascular health.
Swimming is great aerobic exercise. Whether you're in the pool for fifteen minutes or an hour, as long as you're moving, your heart will have to work a bit harder to keep up. Experts recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. Swimming can qualify as either, depending on how hard you push yourself. Meeting these requirements will keep your heart strong, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Have you noticed that you can no longer touch your toes, or that your back often feels stiff? As you swim, you are slowly and gently stretching your body. The motion is easier on you than sitting on the floor and trying to touch your toes to stretch. As you slowly warm up throughout your swimming session, your muscles will become more flexible, and you'll gradually start reaching further and further with your legs and feet. Over time, this will improve your flexibility without you having to spend time focused specifically on stretching. And increased flexibility reduces your chances of sprains, strains, and muscle pain.
Increased muscle mass.
Swimming requires strength. The more you swim, the stronger and more toned your muscles will become. Increased muscle mass does not just improve your looks. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burn at rest. This helps keep your metabolism revved up and your weight in check. And maintaining a healthy body weight helps reduce your risk of diabetes, some cancers, and a wide array of other ailments.
Any type of aerobic exercise is good for improving circulation. Swimming is especially good since you're not putting any downward pressure on your legs while you're doing it. (The pressure can somewhat counteract the circulation improvement you get from the exercise.) As you get your heart rate up, blood flows more easily to your extremities. You may notice any puffiness and swelling in your limbs diminish as a result of improved circulation.
Swimming uses most every muscle in your body. It can also be modified to suit most any fitness level. Swim a few slow laps, or spend an hour in the pool at a rigorous speed. Regardless of how fit you are now, your body is bound to be in better shape after a few months of swimming regularly.