Swimming is one of the best exercises to get a person into shape. From a scientific perspective, swimming has been found to be the ideal physical fitness activity.
It targets many of the body’s muscles and helps strengthen and develop one’s body. In fact, most researchers agree that swimming is the only activity that works on the entire body by improving a person’s cardiovascular conditioning, increasing a person’s muscle strength, improving one’s endurance, fixing one’s posture and making one more flexible all at the same time.
These benefits that one can gain from swimming are unmatched by any sport as only swimming offers all of these benefits. This short report shall discuss a few of the more specific reasons why swimming is the ideal physical fitness activity.
The first reason, as already mentioned, is that swimming gives one a complete body workout. It benefits the cardiovascular system without straining one’s heart and improves a person’s use of oxygen. The timed breathing required in swimming conditions the body and allows a person to improve not only his endurance but also a person’s lung capacity.
Swimming is also a perfect complement for cross-training workouts. As a person who swims becomes more fit, the resting heart rate and respiratory rate is reduced thus allowing for more blood to flow into the heart and making the lungs more efficient. Since swimming gives a complete body workout, it also allows one to burn calories faster than in any other sport. A runner, on average, burns as many calories on a six mile run in one hour as a swimmer who was been swimming for one hour has burned. Swimming not only develops one’s body but also helps people lose weight fast and helps keep people in good health.
Another reason why swimming is considered as an ideal exercise arises from the fact that when a person swims the impact on the joints and bones is significantly reduced by the buoyancy of the water. The weight bearing environment of swimming therefore provides little stress to the body’s connective tissue and joints.
This means that the body is not only strengthened but also protected from the wear and tear on the bones and joints. Since a person weighs nearly 1/10th of his or her body weight in water, there is less gravitational stress on the body. This greatly reduces the incidence of injuries and allows for a relatively rigorous and injury free work out.
Swimming allows the body to burn calories at a rate of about three (3) calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. Therefore, if a person weights approximately 150 (lbs) pounds and it take that person thirty (30) minutes to swim one (1) mile, which is about 1,760 yards or 1,600 meters, then that person will be burning almost 900 calories in one (1) hour.
It is important to remember of course that these estimates may vary for different swimmers depending on skill and actual degree of physical conditioning.
One of the most difficult things that a person encounters when getting into shape is the boredom from the routine. Swimming is not only great exercise but it is also an entertaining activity. It is fun for not only individuals but for groups as well and makes it easier for people who want to get in shape keep up their routine without getting bored.
From a psychological perspective, swimming allows people to relax and swim with very little effort. When a swimmer gets into the rhythm of swimming and allows the mind to focus on the stroke, it is similar to a form of meditation that provides the body with an overall feeling of general well being.
Studies have shown that people who swim in the mornings or begin their days by swimming are more likely to have more energy for the rest of the day and are less likely to feel stressed or pressured.
Swimming does not only give a person the psychological feeling of well being but also helps in other aspects such as the development of certain life skills namely sportsmanship, time-management, self-discipline, goal-setting, and an increased sense of self-worth through their participation in the sport.
These reasons have led to the establishment of swimming as one of the best exercises to help a person maintain a healthy physique.