If you’ve spent most of your life doing your workouts on land, swimming can seem daunting. However, the wonderful feeling of immersing yourself in cool water on an early morning or following a hard day of work is unmatched, and once you start swimming it’ll be difficult to stop. Especially if you’re training for your next MMA fight.
But where can you get access to a pool? Many neighborhoods have local pools that open in the summer, and most gyms have a lap pool. Building your own pool, too, is an option; if you have a backyard conducive to a swimming pool, there are pool financing options that can help make the project affordable. Either way, swimming is one of the best things you can do for your body, and the physical benefits are just as important as the mental ones. Here are a few reasons you should make swimming part of your routine.
1. It Works All Your Muscles
If you’re a weight lifter, you’ve probably done bicep curls, tricep dips, and overhead presses: all exercises that benefit a specific muscle group. Swimming, however, works every muscle in your body all at once. While each of the four main strokes — breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly, and freestyle — favor certain muscles over others, you still have to use every last muscle in your body to help you glide through the water. With swimming, your entire body gets a workout every time you step foot in the water.
2. It’s Good for the Heart and Lungs
Swimming is good for your cardiovascular system, too. It has been proven good for the heart, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. The lungs also benefit from swimming; in fact, swimming is a good option for people with asthma, as the breathing patterns that you need for the sport can help you control your breath and increase your lung capacity.
3. It’s Kind to Your Limbs
Sports such as running or soccer playing can be hard on your body and can cause painful injuries and life-long medical problems. Introducing swimming into your workout routine can help remedy this, and give your body a few days a week off from a high-impact sport. In the end, your muscles and limbs will only be stronger because of it.
4. It Burns Calories
Swimming is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and lose weight. Studies suggest that an average person weighing around 160 pounds burns about 423 calories per hour when swimming, and can burn even more when swimming at a faster and more vigorous pace. This means swimming burns more calories per hour than walking, yoga, or exercising on an elliptical machine; with swimming as part of your routine, you’ll have your bikini body in no time.
5. It Improves Your Sleep
Not only is swimming a calorie-burning exercise that will strengthen your muscles and your cardiovascular system, but it also might help you sleep better at night. Studies show that swimming can help you fall asleep faster and treat insomnia; it requires hard work, which means you’ll be tired and ready to drift into a sweet dream by the end of the day. When you sleep better at night, you’ll be in better spirits and armed with more energy the next day.
6. It Boosts Your Mood
If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, swimming can help. Swimming, like all other exercises, is a big mood booster and can help improve your mental health. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, a hormone that helps make you feel happy. This release of endorphins will help diminish stress, increase self-esteem, and can even reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In other words, as a swimmer, your brain will be as healthy as your muscles.
Swimming is a good-for-you exercise that benefits both your mind and your body. So find a pool, jump in, and experience the magic for yourself.