Cardio is a form of exercise that people either love or loathe.
As you can probably guess by the title of this article, today we’re going to be looking at the many health benefits of swimming.
One of the main reasons why people tend to hate cardio so much is the fact that they find it boring.
After all, if you’re stuck on a treadmill staring at the same four walls and counting down the minutes until you can get off, obviously you’ll find it pretty boring and monotonous.
If you hate jogging but know just how important cardio is, though, it’s important to look for other options.
This is where the benefits come into the mix because swimming is one of the best forms of cardio you could wish for.
Not only is swimming incredibly beneficial for you, but it also happens to be a whole lot of fun too.
- 1 The History Of Swimming:
- 2 Competitive Swimming History:
- 3 What Are The Health Benefits Of Swimming?
- 3.1 1. Swimming Is Fun
- 3.2 2. Swimming Burns Calories
- 3.3 3. Swimming Is A Low Impact Activity
- 3.4 4. Swimming Helps Tone The Muscles
- 3.5 5. Swimming Helps Strengthen The Muscles
- 3.6 6. Swimming Is A Full-body Exercise
- 3.7 7. Swimming Is Great For The Heart
- 3.8 8. Swimming Reduces Blood Pressure
- 3.9 9. Swimming Increases Your Endurance
- 3.10 10. Swimming Helps To Improve Flexibility
- 3.11 11. Swimming Helps To Keep You Cleaner
- 3.12 12. Swimming Is Great For Your Mental Health
- 3.13 13. Swimming Promotes A Good Night’s Sleep
- 3.14 14. Swimming May Increase Your Longevity
- 3.15 15. Swimming Is Easy
- 3.16 16. Swimming Is Great For Rehabbing Injuries
- 3.17 17. Swimming Is Scalable
- 3.18 18. Swimming Reduces Bad Cholesterol
- 4 Final Thoughts:
The History Of Swimming:
Before we start looking at some of the main reasons why swimming is considered such an effective form of cardio, let us first look at where swimming originated, as best we know at least.
Now, we don’t know for certain who the first person was to ever swim, but we do know that there is evidence to suggest that swimming was practiced in Egypt as early as 2500BC, and soon after in places such as Greece and Rome.
Because the Ancient Greeks and Romans were so advanced, they would actually help their soldiers to get fit by swimming, as well as teach their children to swim, as swimming was part of their educational curriculum.
In Japan by the 17th century, swimming was made compulsory in schools, and by the 19th century, there were actually organized swimming events held locally, before Japan opened itself up to the rest of the world.
In the 1st century BCE, it is believed that ancient Roman Gaius Maecenas developed the world’s first heated swimming pool.
Competitive Swimming History:
As soon as swimming was included as part of the Olympic Games, it really came to prominence.
In the early stages, swimming events were only held for men, but in 1912, female swimming events were also included.
Before FINA took charge and became the governing body, swimming events were quite dangerous.
In the year 1900 for example, swimming events were held on the River Seine, including obstacle races requiring swimmers to swim under boats, climb over them, and climb in and out of the water.
When FINA took charge, it became solely about the swimming, and the swimming only. Now, race lengths were measured in meters only.
Also, the number of strokes was reduced, so swimmers could either swim front crawl freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, or butterfly.
There have been some extraordinary swimmers over the years, including Michael Phelps, who has won a staggering 23 Olympic Gold Medals in his career.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Swimming?
If you’re thinking of taking up swimming on a regular basis, here are a few awesome benefits to sink your teeth into.
1. Swimming Is Fun
As we just mentioned, not only is swimming a great form of exercise, it’s also a whole lot of fun too.
It’s not often that you find a form of exercise that is as enjoyable as it is beneficial, yet with swimming that is precisely what you’ve got.
A lot of the time, when people go swimming, they go purely because they want to have fun and enjoy themselves.
Whether you go to the beach, swim in a lake, or go do laps at your local swimming pool, swimming is the perfect activity for people looking to have fun.
2. Swimming Burns Calories
Are you looking to shed that unwanted weight you’ve gained over the last several months?
If so, then one of the main benefits is the fact that it burns calories.
Swimming is the perfect activity for people looking to lose weight as it is a physically demanding activity that burns off a considerable amount of calories.
If you’re looking for ways to lose weight without running on a treadmill, swimming is perfect.
3. Swimming Is A Low Impact Activity
Another of the brilliant benefits that we need to look at today is the fact that swimming is so great for your joints.
It sounds like we’re bashing jogging in today’s article, but despite jogging or sprinting being brilliant forms of cardio, the biggest downside is that they can put the joints under a lot of strain.
With swimming, you needn’t worry about your joints taking a beating because swimming is a low-impact activity that doesn’t put the joints under any strain or pressure.
With swimming, you aren’t putting any weight on the joints so you can do as much activity as you like without having to worry about joint pain, discomfort, or damage.
4. Swimming Helps Tone The Muscles
Another lesser understood benefit is the fact that swimming helps to tone and shape your muscles.
When you’re swimming, you’re swimming against the resistance of the water so your muscles have to work harder to propel you through the water.
Okay, it’s not the same as a resistance-based workout with weights, but still, swimming is a fantastic activity for people who are looking to tone their muscles.
5. Swimming Helps Strengthen The Muscles
Not only does swimming help to tone the muscles, but it also works extremely well for people who are looking to strengthen their muscles as well.
When you’re swimming, you’re working various muscles in your body and with each stroke, you get similar benefits to what you would expect with reps from a set of weights.
This means that the more the muscles are worked, the stronger they will become.
Okay, if you’re training to be the next World’s Strongest Man you’re probably going to need to do more training than just swimming, but if you want to get a little stronger, swimming will help.
6. Swimming Is A Full-body Exercise
There aren’t many exercises and activities that allow you to work your entire body but swimming is one of them.
Swimming is great because it allows you to work your upper body, core, and your lower body through various strokes you perform in the water.
Breaststroke, for example, works the delts and chest, whereas butterfly works the lats and core.
Your legs are also challenged because they’re what propels you through the water.
7. Swimming Is Great For The Heart
The word ‘cardio’ is derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘Kardia’ which meant ‘heart’ so as you can tell, cardio exercise is an exercise that specifically benefits the heart.
Your heart is one of your body’s most important organs and so it is vital that you do everything in your power to look after it.
Swimming is a great exercise for the heart as it helps to strengthen it, boosts fitness and endurance, boosts stamina, and helps to reduce blood pressure, especially when doing a fasted cardio workout.
If you’re looking to keep your heart in tiptop shape and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues, swimming is one of the best activities you could wish for.
8. Swimming Reduces Blood Pressure
When talking about the benefits, we can’t leave out the fact that swimming helps to reduce your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can potentially be fatal as it can be a precursor for a whole host of other health issues and ailments.
Swimming is great as it helps to lower your blood pressure, making it ideal for people looking to keep themselves in great shape.
9. Swimming Increases Your Endurance
Many endurance athletes will perform swimming as part of their training.
This is because swimming has been found to help increase stamina and endurance and will therefore help people to become more physically fit.
Swimming will help improve your VO2 max levels, it will help you to exercise for longer before you begin to fatigue, and it will help you to work harder when exercising.
Whether you’re simply looking to get a little fitter, or if you’re in training for a triathlon or a marathon, swimming is the perfect exercise for you to enjoy.
10. Swimming Helps To Improve Flexibility
If you’re usually as stiff as a board and have about as much flexibility as a plank of wood, swimming could be the perfect exercise for you to enjoy.
Swimming helps to boost flexibility as it requires you to stretch, reach, and bend your way through the water to perform the various strokes.
As time goes by, this helps to loosen up the joints and increase muscle elasticity which in turn will increase your flexibility and mobility.
11. Swimming Helps To Keep You Cleaner
Going to the gym and exercising is all well and good, but if you find yourself soaking in sweat and coated head to toe in soggy sweaty clothes, it’s hardly the most hygienic experience.
One of the main benefits is the fact that it helps to keep you clean because you’re in the water.
The water and the mild chemicals in the pool help to neutralize bacteria and sweat and help to keep you cool and fresher.
After you’re finished, though, we do recommend that you take a shower as the chlorine in the water can make your eyes sore and can leave your hair feeling dry and damaged.
12. Swimming Is Great For Your Mental Health
Whether you’re dealing with depression and anxiety, or are stressed and are looking for ways to unwind and relax, swimming has been found to be ideal for people’s mental health.
Swimming, and indeed any other form of exercise for that matter, has been found to work as a natural anti-depressant.
Swimming helps to alleviate people’s poor mental health as it can increase endorphins which make us feel better and happier.
Not only that but being in the water is also nice and relaxing.
13. Swimming Promotes A Good Night’s Sleep
If you suffer from a lack of sleep, you’ll know just how awful it can make you feel.
A lack of sleep can leave you tired and irritable and can lead to feelings of stress and poor mental health, due in part to an increase in the production of a stress hormone known as cortisol.
If you’re struggling to sleep, taking up swimming is a fantastic way to help get your sleeping schedule back on track.
Swimming is physically demanding so you’ll burn calories and expend energy which will make you tired, plus it also helps to increase the production of neurotransmitters such as melatonin and serotonin which play key roles in our overall sleep patterns.
Not only that, but swimming is also quite relaxing so you’ll be nice and chilled out once you’ve showered and got changed.
14. Swimming May Increase Your Longevity
If you’re looking for ways of increasing your longevity so that you can live longer, swimming is the perfect form of exercise.
Swimming can help to reduce blood pressure, it can strengthen the heart, helps fight and prevent obesity and a whole lot more on top of that.
Put simply, swimming will help make you fitter and healthier which will likely increase your longevity and help you to live longer.
15. Swimming Is Easy
Another awesome benefit that we need to look at today is the fact that swimming is easy.
Okay, not everybody can swim but the good news is that it is easy to learn, and for safety reasons, you can swim in a shallow pool that you could easily stand up in if you aren’t feeling confident in the water.
16. Swimming Is Great For Rehabbing Injuries
If you suffer an injury and are looking to rehab it, swimming is one of the best activities you could wish for.
Swimming helps to gently tone and strengthen the muscles by adding resistance in the form of water.
Not only that, but swimming is also great for the joints so if you do suffer from joint pain or muscular pain, make sure you throw on your swimwear and hit the water for a swimming workout.
17. Swimming Is Scalable
Another brilliant thing about swimming is the fact that it is scalable, so you can make it literally as easy or as difficult as you would like.
If you just want to get some gentle exercise and burn off a few calories you can have a leisurely swim in the pool with no issues at all.
If however, you’re looking to ramp up your fat loss and boost your fitness levels you can swim more lengths and increase the intensity of your workout.
Many people actually incorporate HIIT sessions into their swimming workouts and will swim slowly at a gentle pace before ramping up the intensity and swimming at a high intensity and repeating as necessary.
18. Swimming Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Because of the cardiovascular benefits, another awesome benefit is the fact that swimming reduces bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol in the form of LDL cholesterol can block the arteries and lead to cardiovascular issues which could prove fatal.
Swimming helps to increase healthy HDL cholesterol, which in turn actually lowers bad cholesterol.
So, we’ll swim to the finishing line and bring this article to a close.
Hopefully, you’ve found this list of the many health benefits of swimming exciting and engaging and you are now feeling inspired enough to head to the pool and do some laps?
If you want a fun and exciting way to exercise that doesn’t need to take place in a gym, swimming is perfect.