It seems that as soon as the winter season hits, or begins looming in the distance, all of the swim suits and flip flops hit a storage bin in the back of a closet. Of course, you won’t find yourself lying out to sun yourself on any sandy beaches anytime soon, unless you’ve got a tropical vacation planned, but this doesn’t mean you have to give up on swimming entirely. Keep a few summer items out of storage and take a look at your local swimming pool schedule. It’s likely that there are many different open swims, family swims, and lane swims available to choose from, as well as a variety of classes throughout the year. Taking water aerobics is a great low impact way to get into shape and keep moving when the weather gets cold. Just be sure to dry off properly before heading out into the snow or you may wind up getting sick on account of dripping hair and damp skin.
Ideal For Injuries
One great thing about swimming for your health is that it’s an optimal workout for people of all ages, and all body types; this includes injuries and handicaps, depending on the severity. The water helps take the weight off of your limbs and allows you to move and get blood pumping without placing too much pressure on sore muscles, joints, or areas with aches and pains. Michael Franco of How Stuff Works writes:
In its recommendation for the right types of exercise for people with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation suggests those that stretch muscles, those that strengthen muscles, and those that provide an aerobic workout. A few laps in the pool combine all three!
Another health-related issue that seems to benefit from swimming is asthma. This is because swimming allows you to move freely and work your muscles without straining your lungs. It can actually exercise your lungs and allow you to work hard enough to get your breathing up but not beyond your control. Over time you might see an improvement in your ability to endure physical activity for an extended amount of time without suffering an attack or becoming short of breathe.
Tone and Strength
An obvious benefit of swimming is what it can do for your muscles and body shape. Over time you use many different muscles in your body; some that you might not even put to work during other exercises. This allows them to grow and strengthen at a slow and even pace. Medicinenet.com suggests:
In a study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the triceps muscle (the back of the arm).
The way that this activity tends to reduce stress, both physical and mental gives your body a chance to tone and shape itself without the added strain that other fitness programs encounter.
Finally, when you think of swimming, you probably can’t help but think about cardiovascular health and for good reason. The amount of motion and breathing involved in a good long swim can elevate heart rate and promote proper circulation as well. Bucknell University explains:
Full body rhythmic exercises conducted in shallow and/or deep water for 20 minutes or more, designed to provide cardiovascular benefits.
Ongoing exercise in a pool can help prevent poor heart health and boost your body’s ability to fight off illness and reduce blockages in your blood stream. This tends to work best when accompanied by proper nutrition and dietary restrictions.
It can seem daunting when the snow begins falling to think about jumping into water, but just remember that indoor pools are generally heated and when you climb out you can relax in a sauna and feel good about yourself and the workout you’ve done.