Why You Need to Start Swimming


Why You Need to Start Swimming

Health experts and various studies have identified swimming as one major activity that is not only exciting but also has immense benefits to health. It is a suitable exercise for people of all ages and it can help a person get or stay in shape and achieve sound mental health.

Swimming is the activity of moving oneself through a body of water, using one’s arms and legs, while buoyed up by the water. Experts have pointed out that swimming engages almost every major muscle group as it requires one to use their arms, legs, torso, and stomach.

As well as increasing heart rate without putting stress on the body, it improves strength, tones muscles, enhances fitness and also helps to manage weight.

While humans have likely been swimming ever since they dipped their feet in water, it is believed that swimming as a practice dates back as early as 2500 BC. The ancient Egyptians were said to swim in the Nile for pleasure, while the Greeks and Romans used swimming as a means of training prospective soldiers.

According to International Olympic Committee (IOC), swimming became a sporting activity in the mid-19th century, when the world’s first swimming organisation was formed in London in 1837. Inevitably, things soon became competitive and, in 1846, the first swimming championship was held in Australia and the race eventually became an annual event.
Swimming has been part of the Olympic schedule since the very first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

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In fact, the IOC has confirmed that swimming is one of the only four disciplines to have been retained in the quadrennial game, appearing in every summer Olympics since; the others being athletics, artistic gymnastics and fencing.

Besides being one of the four sports to have been retained at Olympic from inception, swimming has gained much recognition and become a choice sport and activities for many people across the globe. For instance, a survey carried out by the National Sporting Goods Association, Downers Grove, Illinois in United States of America shows that, swimming was the second most popular sport activity in 2008, with 63.5 million participants.

That many people across the globe swim may not be a surprise, going by the numerous health benefits of the exercise. According to a study by the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, published in October 2015, aside from instantly cooling down the body on a hot day, one of the biggest health benefits of swimming is immense improvement on cardiovascular endurance.

Another study also disclosed that swimming is the best form of low impact cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular exercise involves the heart, lungs, and circulatory system, and aerobic activity like swimming will improve cardiovascular fitness. Physicians have also said keeping cardio fitness in check can help enhance wellbeing for a lifetime.

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Aside from keeping cardio fit, swimming, according to experts, is a great total body workout. This is because when you swim, you engage almost every major muscle group, including your arms, legs and core, hence swimming promotes weight loss, as well as protecting the joints.
“Swimming increases heart rate, without putting excess stress on joints. Hitting the pool regularly builds strength, tones muscle, enhances fitness, and increases your metabolism,” said the Chief Coach of Swim Pro, Brian Young.
Also, swimming has been identified as a good measure for body rehabilitation. Young, an avid triathlete, master swimmer, and expert in open water swimming equipment, said, “If you have an injury or a chronic condition like arthritis, swimming is a great way to rehabilitate your body and manage symptoms.

The water gently supports your muscles, so it’s like being in zero gravity with the added benefit of the water’s resistance for fitness. Swimming regularly will help you build muscle and improve your endurance, which will help you prevent future injuries too”.

Calorie burner
According to statistics obtained by Pharmanews from a study published by Harvard Medical School in 2021, after swimming for 30 minutes, a 155-pound person will burn about 223 calories. The study further revealed that the person will burn 298 calories during backstroke; 372 calories during breaststroke; 409 calories during butterfly; 409 calories during craw or freestyle; 372 calories during vigorous swimming; and 372 while treading water vigorously.

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Also, according to the findings published in the March 2016 edition of the Journal of Rheumatology, swimming for 45 minutes three days a week, improved joint pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis.

Another finding from a study by British sport doctors, published in their journal known as British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that, swimming was associated with a reduced risk of dying from heart disease. The researchers in the study tracked more than 80,000 adults for more than 20 years, and made the discovery.

The study, which was published in the May 2017 edition, also revealed that, adults who swam had a 28 per cent lower risk of all-cause death and a 41 per cent lower risk of death from heart concerns.

Meanwhile, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), being in water makes one more buoyant by reducing 90 per cent of weight, which makes swimming a low-impact exercise that is easier on the joints, bones and muscles.


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