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24. Swimming and Health

Swimming and Health

            Swimming is obviously good exercise. It is a lifetime sport that benefits the whole person! What makes swimming so good specifically? That depends on what you are trying to accomplish. The many benefits include;

  • increased general strength and muscle tone, every kick and every stroke becomes a resistance exercise
  • improved flexibility, swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay flexible
  • Healthier heart- in addition to toning visible muscles, it also helps your heart.
  • Swimming is an aerobic exercise; it strengthens the heard and makes it more efficient in pumping. Which leads to better blood flow throughout the body.
  • Weight control, the number of calories you can burn while swimming depends on your physiology and exercise intensity. As a general rule you burn 100 calories for every ten minutes of freestyle swam.
  • Since swimming is usually done in a moist air atmosphere, which can help reduce exercise induced asthma symptoms. Even those without asthma can benefit, as swimming can increase lung volume and teach proper breathing techniques.
  • It also can help improve cholesterol thanks to its aerobic power.
  • Aerobic exercise, especially swimming can lower your risk of diabetes.
  • Its meditative healing properties can help improve blood pressure.
  • One of the pleasant side effects of swimming is the release of endorphins. It can also evoke the relaxation response.

Since aquatic exercise and swimming is low impact there is no stress on your bones, joints, or connective tissue. Which makes it ideal for the elderly and those recovering from injury. You can sometimes control the temperature- cooler water can be refreshing and rejuvenating, while warmer water stimulates blood circulation, promotes healing and relaxes muscles.

As with any exercise program check with your physician.

Written by Sally Bachman, PTA

Published August 2012 

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