Swimming is one of the best full-body workouts available to everyone, of all ages and skill levels. Swimming is uncontested with most other cardio and strength training exercises, due to the unique movements done in the pool or open water, as well as it's extremely low impact. The weightlessness you feel inside the water promotes exercise in those that usually cannot, such as senior citizens, those with joint degeneration, back problems, and other ailments that prevent movement or sustained activity on dry land.
In this article, we'll explore the key benefits of swimming, the advantages and muscle groups used in each stroke, and ultimately, some of the best equipment and optimal weather for your next swim.
- How Does Swimming Help the Body?
- Best Air Temperature For Swimming
- Best Goggles For Open Water Swimming
The best temperature for swimming depends on the category and age group that you belong to. For example, 78-84 degrees is recommended for competitive swim team training and high-intensity exercise. For lower intensity swimming, such as for beginners, moderately experienced children, the elderly, and pregnant women, the temperature should be cooler, 78-80 degrees to be precise. Aquatic therapy and very young children learning to swim should be higher, around 82-84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Swimming is a full-body workout. It is also extremely low impact and does not allow the person to sweat. All of these things are important, as those with chronic issues who otherwise cannot work out can find solace in swimming. Here are the top 5 benefits of swimming:
- Cardiovascular and strength training - Swimming is a full-body workout for both outside the body and inside. Most strokes target your back, arms, legs, and major muscle groups, making this the most inclusive compound exercise. It helps in toning muscles, building strength, and aerobic endurance in your sinews and tissues. Swimming also increases your heart rate without undue strain on your cardiovascular system, making this exercise safe for neurodegenerative diseases and heart issues. Active swimmers have increased lung capacity, decreased blood pressure, and one of the lowest resting heart rates.
- Therapeutic for joint and respiratory diseases - As mentioned previously, swimming has extremely low impact, making this a great exercise for those with joint pain, injuries, and respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Those who experience joint stiffness due to arthritis, for example, seem to reap the same health benefits as a healthy person working out on dry land. The moisture and condensation in the environment make it easier to breathe with asthma, as well as increase your lung capacity through persistent training.
- Burns calories quickly - Swimming burns more calories than yoga, the elliptical, and even stair master. It is the best low-impact activity to perform if your primary concern is weight management. A 200-pound person can burn around 600 calories by swimming at a moderate pace. Swimming does not allow you to sweat and engages every muscle in your body, causing your metabolic burn to increase to keep you afloat and active.
- Helps with mood, stress and mental health- Swimming makes you tired. And not the kind of tired you feel when you are burnt out, but well tired. When your body feels accomplished and physically exhausted, it makes it hard to stay awake at night. Additionally, swimming is an aerobic exercise, which is scientifically proven to improve sleep quality.
- Safe and accessible: Swimming is not just good for those with injuries, but it is also safe for those that are more vulnerable, such as children and pregnant women. It is safe for children as young as 6 months to be introduced to the water, as their natural reflexes from the womb will allow them to stay afloat. Swimming also helps babies and toddlers again with neurological issues, such as hypoxia-ischemia, by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
This depends on the category and age group that you belong to. For example, 78-84 degrees is recommended for competitive swim team training and high-intensity exercise. For lower intensity swimming, such as for beginners, moderately experienced children, the elderly, and pregnant women, the temperature should be cooler, 78-80 degrees to be precise. Aquatic therapy and very young children learning to swim should be higher, around 82-84 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may find that if you are bringing your regular pool goggles to the open water, they just don't work as well. This is because open water goggles are different, they need to have saline protection, UV filters, a wider field of view, and are much more durable. The Aqua Sphere Kayenne are some of the best open water goggles on the market, all for an affordable price. The goggles feature an enormous field of vision, polarized and tinted lenses to combat glare, durable straps that remain in place, and an anti-fog layer. It is important not to bring these goggles to the pool, as the pool chemicals and natural body oils will erode the anti-fog protection.
P.S: The manufacturer who creates these goggles also created Michael Phelp's line of swim gear.
Can swimming get you ripped?
Swimming does not target or isolate muscle group training, which means that muscles will not quickly be developed in a particular part of the body. On the other hand, adding swimming to your workout routine will enhance your cardiovascular health and overall strength, making it easier to look "ripped" after consistent activity and a proper diet.
Can swimming dry your skin?
Yes. Pools contain chlorine, which is a cleaning agent to disinfect and combat bacteria and other pathogens that can linger in the pool. This is due to the mass of people swimming in the pool, secreting bodily fluids such as saliva and their natural oils. Also, swimming causes you not to sweat, so the chlorine and possible dirt can linger on the skin. It is extremely important to shower after swimming to clean your skin of these impurities, as they can dry your skin, cause rashes, or even infect you.
Is swimming good for the sinus?
Swimming stimulates the nose tissues and muscles, stimulating the release of more mucus. This is extremely beneficial for those with sinus infections and nasal drip, as you can clear blockages easily. Furthermore, swimming in oceans and lakes may contain saltwater, which is a natural antiseptic and a great cure for nasal inflammation.