Swimming: Just do it!

Introducing 4 key benefits of swimming:

Exercise is a staple of a healthy lifestyle; it burns calories and is an excellent way of keeping fit. But why should swimming stand out from the large choice of cardiovascular workouts available to us all? As a swimmer myself, there’s no question as to what sport is the best. But you might not be so sure. So here’s the top four reasons why I believe swimming should be the go-to exercise…

 

The best whole-body exercise

Whilst going to the gym and other muscle-building choices are great, you have to know what you’re doing to be guaranteed a purposeful, efficient, and safe full body workout. However, as long as you know how to swim in a rudimentary, basic fashion, it’s fairly easy to search for “swimming sets” on Google and write it down on a whiteboard to take to the poolside. It’s an easy choice for someone who wants to develop the core muscles, and use different strokes to target different muscle groups, i.e. the breast stroke (as the name implies), helps improve the muscles in your chest. You can bring fins and a kickboard to work on your leg muscles, or practice your butterfly arms to improve shoulder strength with a pull buoy. And with drills to improve the stroke of your choice (breast stroke, front crawl, back stroke, or butterfly), you’ll find swimming one of the most diverse sports. It’s practically impossible to hate it!

 

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High sociability

Swimming is often known to be a social sport: a lunch-time swim puts you in a pool with many others. We’re all nice people, and it’s easy to befriend us. You could easily go with a friend to swim; my local pool in Ely always has lane swimming open. But you will reap the most social benefits from swimming by  joining a club. You simply have to turn up at the right time, ready to swim, and the coaches will put you through a set. And it’s never been easier to join a club, with two within 8 miles of Soham. Clubs are very social: we all get to know each other very quickly, and there are always competitions where you meet similar, like-minded people.

 

Anyone can do it!

While all the above reasons are useful, it won’t tell you if asthma or injuries matter. Here’s the simple answer: they don’t! The humid environment of pools helps block asthma for your swim. Even with leg or arm injuries, you can still go along and swim – a pull buoy or kick board will make you injuring them unlikely. One study has also shown that people with arthritis also suffer less from joint pain or stiffness as a result of swimming. Even if you can’t swim in the lanes, there are always water-based alternatives – water aerobics, for instance,  add an extra dimension to aerobic exercise.

 

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Boosts your mood

Similar to most sports, swimming will help boost your endorphin levels. Endorphins are an essential feel-good compound your body releases after exercise. But they have another purpose besides making you feel good. They help reduce stress levels. This makes it vital to exercise regularly. Swimming also reduces the risk of insomnia and improves your sleep.

 

So, what’s stopping you?

After reading these four reasons, I hope you will turn to swimming for your exercise. Even if you can’t swim, there are always Learn to Swim lessons so you can jump in the pool and burn those calories. However, if you seriously love swimming, I would highly recommend joining your local swim club; they tailor the swimming sets to your needs so you can improve your stroke. Besides, it gives you the opportunity to swim in competitions and compete in a friendly atmosphere. With these reasons and the motivation to burn some calories, I hope to see some more people swimming in the pool!

 

Written by Callum Bridges, Year 10

Images courtesy of Gentrit Sylejmani, Marcus, and Road-Trip-With-Raj @unsplash.com

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