Did you know that swimming burns calories as much as running? Discover all its benefits. Read this text first, and then go and jump into the water!
Swimming is one of those forms of recreation that are really fun, and at the same time, it is good for losing weight and tightening the whole body. In addition, like any form of physical activity, it has its health benefits. Do you need more persuasion to jump into the water?
No problem, we’ll give you that too!
Swimming Is Good For Health
True, physical activity is good for your health, but is every activity good for you? Some exercises will not suit you if you have joint pain, some are a nightmare if you have back pain. Maybe jumping is too hard for you and you don’t like how running affects your breathing? Or you are overweight, and it is quite an effort to walk, let alone do something else?
Swimming is then the best choice for you because even though you strain your whole body and move all the muscles, the effort is not so big. Recreational swimming is a physical activity that is recommended for both pregnant women and the elderly, and if they can do it, so can you!
The density of water is higher than the density of air. That is why the movements underwater are slowed down, and your body acts lighter and does not suffer the burden of your movements.
Here’s How Swimming Improves Health
Improves heart function. Swimming is easy once you learn it and does not burden the body. However, it is not the same as sitting in an armchair and requires muscle engagement, including the most important one in our body – the heart muscle. When you start swimming at a stronger pace, it will affect your heart health just as well as running.
Still, you have to admit that swimming is much more interesting. It improves circulation and forces the heart to pump blood, so, unlike deckchair resting, it reduces the chances of developing high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
It reduces stress and relaxes our body. This is a particularly good anti-stress therapy when you have a pool in your own backyard. If you don’t have one, the public one is also good. Throw out all your anger and frustration into the water, swim, and divert your thoughts from ugly things to your movements and keeping on the water. Try it. At the end of a good series of swims, you will be so exhausted that you will not have the strength to get upset.
Sometimes it is good to leave some thoughts to cool and clear. Water and swimming do it great.
It improves your sex life. Not only does it relieve you so your libido is better, but it keeps your body fit and endurance at a great level and increases your mobility. It is also thought to increase testosterone and estrogen levels. Swimming burns calories, so you will feel sexier, better, and slimmer.
It helps with leg problems and lower back pain. Unlike other sports activities, the effort your muscles make during swimming is not so strenuous and that is why recreational swimming is a great choice for all people, even for those who have a problem with back pain. Moreover, these movements synchronously move almost all the main muscles in the body, and such movements are pleasing to the back.
Improves lung health. Experts say that recreational swimming is great for people suffering from asthma because it requires proper and deep breathing. This expands the lungs and reduces breathing problems.
Summer is the time when most of us enjoy this type of recreation, although it would be ideal to swim regularly throughout the year. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Therefore, when you go to the sea, swim as much as possible and enjoy all its advantages.
Advantages of Swimming in the Sea
Swimming is very good for your health, whether you are in fresh or salt water. However, unlike the pool water enriched with chlorine, seawater has additional advantages:
- Strengthens the immune system. Some studies have shown that people who swim regularly at least 3 times a week have a higher number of white blood cells, which are important in the fight against infections. Seawater is salty due to the presence of certain minerals, amino acids, and microorganisms that improve our immune system, and act against bacteria and fungi. Swimming in the sea opens pores on the skin, and thus opens the door for toxins to come out of the body. And toxins, you know it, cause a number of diseases.
- Affects general health and recovery. Going on summer vacation is not accidentally related to the sea. You can find refreshment anywhere, but swimming in the sea can completely revive you. Seawater is rich in magnesium, which affects muscle relaxation. On the other hand, it reduces tension and muscle pain, relieves stress, and recovers you.
- It beautifies the skin and accelerates wound healing. Swimming in a sea that is very rich in magnesium (such as the Dead Sea) helps maintain skin moisture and wound healing. This treatment has also been proved to be excellent for people who have skin problems such as psoriasis, redness, and pimples on the face.
Bathing in water has long been known to have healing effects, and that is why patients are often credited with staying in spas and baths for recovery. And did you know that it can help you shape a perfect body?
Why Does Swimming Burn Calories?
Every activity you do burns calories, even if it’s a dog walk or tidying up the house. How many calories swimming will consume depends on the intensity of the movements, but the average is about 600 calories per hour. On average, running and cycling burn the same amount. Of course, the higher the speed, the better the results.
Although water activities consume calories, it turns out that the effects of that consumption are not seen as quickly as with other activities. The reason for that can be the coldness of the water, which removes a good part of the body heat, and the result is an increased appetite after coming out of the water.
There is definitely truth in that. Did it happen to you to come out of the water and you immediately feel hungry and want something to eat?
In order for swimming to be effective for weight loss, it is necessary to resist that need for food after coming out of the water and not to overeat. Loss of calories is in vain if they are immediately compensated!
This can be difficult because it is advisable not to eat even 2 hours before swimming, so that food does not come back from your stomach during training. With proper nutrition and discipline, anything is possible.
After a hard workout, the best thing you can do for your muscles is to feed them with proteins, because they are necessary for their growth. If hunger is insatiable, instead of snacks and pasta, reach for a piece of chicken breast or a glass of milk.
Swimming promotes weight loss and it has been proven. Scientists have measured the circumference of the waist and hips in swimmers and non-swimmers, and it has been shown that it can be one of the ways to get rid of annoying belly fat.
As with running or cycling, the best way for swimming to burn calories is with interval training. This means that you should combine slower and faster movements, instead of immediately starting with all your strength and giving up after 10 minutes because you are already too tired.
Interval training is more interesting, especially when different styles of swimming are involved, and it can definitely force you to stay in training for an hour – active, and not sitting on the edge of the pool or in the shallows, wringing your feet in the water.
How to conduct interval swimming training?
Determine the distance if you are at sea (to that boat, rock, buoy…) or swim the length of the pool and go with full force in one direction and then slowly and relaxing go back. Combine all styles and you will do a good workout that tightens the whole body.
Different Styles of Swimming Shape the Whole Body
If you have chosen water activities as a way to burn excess calories, then you are surely wondering if you can gain muscle mass and a perfectly shaped body with such training.
The answer is both “yes” and “no”.
Swimming alone is not enough to build muscles because you do not put in the effort like, say, in lifting weights.
That is why this is an activity that can be done by literally everyone, even pregnant women.
If your goal is not to be overweight, then swimming is great for shaping the whole body because it requires the use of all muscle groups and is certainly better than laziness and doing nothing.
Which muscles you will develop depends on the techniques you use as you move through the water. Different styles engage different parts of the body. Of course, the arms and shoulders develop the most because they are our movers through the water and other styles of swimming are an excellent addition.
- Backstroke is great for strengthening the back, but also for the leg muscles and buttocks that work through leg movements.
- The butterfly style is the most demanding and engages the muscles of the abdomen and the middle part of the body (the muscles of the cortex) because they are needed to lift the body out from the water and make the stroke. This technique also activates the muscles of the lower back and buttocks, which are engaged when you use your legs during the butterfly style.
- Crawl activates the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and back, while the legs are less activated.
- Breaststroke engages the arm and leg muscles at the same time and with the same intensity.
If you think that different styles are not a big enough effort for your muscles, then try these water exercises as well:
- Keep yourself on the water using your legs only. First, catch the balance by holding on with your arms, and then try to stay on the surface of the water just by moving your legs through the water as if you were running. Focus on the muscles of the legs and buttocks. This is a great way to get rid of cellulite on your legs.
- Push away from the edge of the pool. Position yourself so that your feet are leaning against the pool wall and bend your knees. Push hard to reach the other end of the pool. Even if you don’t make it, try to imitate that movement to the other end. It is great for the abdominal muscles.
- “Frog movements” are also a great exercise for the legs. Lean your hands on a floating surface, with your chest towards it, and push yourself away from the bottom of the pool. Then continue by imitating with your legs the movements made by the frog while swimming. The legs are spread, you bend them at the knees as if pushing yourself away from some invisible surface.
- Underwater scissors – stay afloat, and spread and shrink your legs imitating scissors
- Add some light-weight to your arms or legs to make it harder to move. But not too heavy to drag you to the bottom!
Be imaginative. It takes resistance to build muscle, and water provides it. Try all the ways and movements that can help you turn water resistance to your advantage. Kick, use your arms or your legs only, try to move only by floating using your abdominal muscles similar to a mermaid moving underwater.
So, what other reason do you need to jump into the water?
Go ahead! Swimming is refreshing, fun and useful and you don’t always have to wait for summer!
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