Swimming is a low-impact activity that involves practically every muscle group. It’s a good pulmonary and cardiovascular exercise. Experts suggest that it can even help alleviate asthma instead of induce it, unlike other exercises.
This water activity burns calories. Epigee.org compares doing breaststrokes or backstrokes to brisk walking or slow jogging suggesting that “you burn about the same number of calories,” while “more vigorous swimming” such as “doing the front crawl vigorously for 30 minutes will burn about 350 calories” for an average woman. The high repetition of movements when paddling also helps tone muscles.
Water for everyone
Swimming an ideal workout for everyone, including the elderly, those recovering from an injury, disabled, overweight and even pregnant women. This is due to water density, which cushions movement.
In an article on webmd.com, Robert A. Robergs, director of the exercise physiology laboratories at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, says swimming is good especially for those who have physical limitations or who find other forms of exercise painful.
Nathalie Lim, swimming teacher, agrees, “Swimming is also far more beneficial … for people who have problems with weight, because the water mitigates the weight factor. [It’s] good for overweight people when their complaint is they can’t exercise because their knees hurt or their arms hurt.”
Swimming in general is a safe activity, but those who have a medical condition should consult a doctor before starting a program.
Taking your first stroke
While some learn on their own, swimming lessons are advantageous for neophytes. A coach or a teacher can help hasten learning and lessen frustration. Getting your strokes and breathing to work in rhythm can be challenging, requiring the correction of movements to ensure you get the most from each stroke.
Nathalie says a swimming coach can teach you to move through the water efficiently. Her sister Marjorie Lim, also a swimming teacher cites, “quite often you see people doing freestyle … bara-bara, like making windmills, [they] spend more effort, but … don’t get further. The teacher will teach you how or when to bend your arms so that you get the maximum amount of glide out of the stroke.”
Making it a habit
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day, most days of the week to reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Here are some tips to get you started: