The summer seasons are approaching, and the increasing intensity of the sun makes for frequent daydreams about beach trips and swimming. While many people look forward to simply splashing around in pools or floating off a boat with some friends, some of us can’t wait to return to the summer rhythms of our swim routines, and get back into the water.
Whether you are a natural swimmer at the public beaches, or just starting out in the pool, here are some of the benefits to your health that swimming can have. Read them, stay motivated and keep on swimming.
A Good Workout For Your Entire Body
Engaging many major muscle groups, arms, legs, torso, and stomach, swimming as an exercise has the advantage of increasing the heart rate without putting overdue stress on the body. During a swim workout, you can tone muscles and burn calories. Cardiovascular exercise is also achieved when swimming, involving the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. A thorough workout routine in the water will make sure you get plenty of cardio exercise.
Swimming is considered a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It can also help you focus on something to give your mind a break, and may even benefit people who are looking for a better night's sleep. Apart from the physical benefits of learning to swim safely and increasing your physical strength and endurance, being confident in the water can also be a lifesaving skill to have.
Widely Accessible Across Age and Fitness Level
Some people who feel they are unfit, or have low confidence in their ability to exercise, can turn to swimming. It allows people to go at their own pace regardless of age or fitness level, and our public swimming pools in Hong Kong have designated lanes set for different speeds.
Water can provide both great resistance while still offering some support in buoyancy, which can be useful for people with injuries or anyone looking to avoid high-impact, high-resistance exercise.
With the added weight and subsequent joint and muscle pain during pregnancy for example, swimming is often recommended for the added support to weight. *Please consult a doctor when undertaking a new form of activity during pregnancy.
Variety of Activities
Repetitive exercises can get tedious, but mixing up how you swim and which strokes you use can keep swimming interesting (Breaststroke, Backstroke, Sidestroke, Butterfly, Freestyle).
Added to that, using flotation aids for different water exercises, water aerobics, water polo, or even racing a friend can help add variety and fun.
Easier Interval Training
Interval training, which involves a series of high intensity workouts to achieve anaerobic exercise, interspersed with lower intensity periods, is well suited to the swimming pool. Simply swim as fast as you can for one lap, and then for the next one go at a slower pace. Repeating this in a series of ‘intervals’ is thought to be one way to maximise calorie burn and accelerate the fat burning process.
If you are starting out swimming, or have not been for a while, please follow these safety tips:
- Swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
- Consider taking swimming lessons.
- When swimming in the ocean, ensure you are being supervised and don’t swim alone.
- If you are swimming outdoors make sure to wear skin protection from the sun, in either swimming clothes or an appropriate SPF 15 or higher.
- Even if you don’t feel thirsty, make sure to drink plenty of water, you can still get dehydrated from swimming.
- Children should always be supervised when near water.