Just about any type of physical activity is going to be good for your health in one way or another, but swimming is an amazing workout—better than most. The benefits of swimming outweigh the physical rewards of many other types of land exercises.
And as a triathlete, you’ll get to reap the benefits of swimming not only during the race but also during your training sessions. Whether you’re training in a pool or in the open water, you’ll get fit—and stay fit—by swimming.
Here are the top 10 benefits of swimming.
1. Weight Management
Swimming is better than many other exercises at helping you burn those calories and lose or manage your weight. You’ll burn over 300 calories in 30 minutes of breaststroke swimming, while walking in that same time will only burn 99 calories and cycling will burn 240 calories. So if you’re looking to trim down, you’ll love the benefits of swimming.
2. Reduced Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Surveys have shown that lowered stress and tension levels can be sought by swimming. It’ll help you unwind, relax and feel mentally refreshed. So jump in that pool and swim a few laps if you’re feeling stressed.
3. Muscle Strengthening
Water is thicker than air, so you’ll be working harder to get through it—up to 44 times harder, actually. When you swim, you use the resistance of the water to produce the results similar to those used when working out with machines or weights, except that you don’t need special equipment. Your muscles will be stronger in no time if you start swimming regularly.
4. Low Impact
Your body is buoyant in the water, which means you’re actually only bearing about ten percent of your weight. The low-impact workout is a great way for athletes with bone, joint, or muscle problems to work out with less strain. They’ll avoid further injury and pain while staying in shape by swimming instead of performing land exercises.
5. Increased Flexibility
When you swim, you must twist, reach, stretch, and pull your body through the thick water. This repeated stretching found in various strokes can make swimmers more flexible.
Swimming is a great way to increase endurance. The longer people swim, the more their bodies come to tolerate hard workouts. And as you know, increasing your endurance is especially important if you want to compete in a triathlon and cross that finish line.
7. Lowered Blood Pressure
One of the greatest benefits of swimming is how it lowers blood pressure. Swimming three times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to lower blood pressure and resting heart rate after just ten weeks. When you lower your blood pressure, you also lower your risk of stroke, aneurysm, transient ischemic attack, dementia, disability, kidney disease, and heart disease significantly. Swimming can actually prolong your life. And that should be benefit enough.
8. Muscle Recovery
Swimming helps your circulatory system move blood around your body and back to your heart more efficiently, clear blood lactate, and reduce tissue inflammation caused by exertion. This is ideal for helping your muscles recover after an intense land workout. This active recovery technique allows you to cool down from your workout. The hydrostatic properties of water can be especially beneficial to triathletes in training.
9. Build Bone Mass
Weight-bearing exercises aren’t the only workouts that build bone mass. Recent studies have shown that swimming can actually increase bone mass density, and specifically, femoral bone weight.
10. Better Breathing
The air’s moisture at a swimming pool makes it easier for people to breathe, which is especially beneficial for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma. It also increases lung volume and builds better breathing techniques, which is great for runners.
So there you have it—the top 10 benefits of swimming. Not only is it fun but it can make you mentally and physically stronger.