The amazing health benefits of swimming!
The health benefits of swimming is so achievable in our wonderful climate in Australia attracts people to water like no other. With that in mind, during my regular swim session today I found my self wondering just how good it was for me.... let me share some interesting facts about taking the plunge!
In the 1985 Ron Howard created a movie called "Cocoon," where a group of elderly adults discovers that a nearby swimming pool has the power to instil them with new strength, enhanced energy and a more youthful sense of well-being. While the cause of their new lease on life turns out to be from another planet, it doesn't take an alien to realise the benefits of swimming in your friendly neighbourhood pool.
Even without the aid of mysterious otherworldly cocoons, regular swimming can offer anyone, especially older adults, a wide range of health benefits -- including feeling and looking younger.
The ability to do more with less
Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to your skeletal system. When the human body is submerged in water, it automatically becomes lighter. When immersed to the waist, your body bears just 50 percent of its weight; dunk yourself to the chest and that number reduces to around 25 to 35 percent; with water all the way to the neck, you only have to bear 10 percent of your own weight. The other 90 percent is handled by the pool.
This means that the pool provides an ideal place to work sore or stiff muscles and joints, especially if you're overweight or suffer from arthritis.
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!
If the pool is heated, so much the better for arthritis sufferers, as the warm water can help loosen stiff joints. In fact, people with rheumatoid arthritis receive greater benefits to their health after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities. It's also been proven that water-based exercise improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.
Increased muscle tone and strength
Swimming is a great way to increase muscular strength and tone -- especially compared to several other aerobic exercises.
Take running, for example. When a jogger takes few laps around the track, that jogger is only moving his or her body through air. A swimmer, on the other hand, is propelling himself through water -- a substance about twelve times as dense as air. That means that every kick and every arm stroke becomes a resistance exercise -- and it's well known that resistance exercises are the best way to build muscle tone and strength.
There's yet another bonus of a watery workout: Swimming has also been shown to improve bone strength -- especially in post-menopausal
Unlike exercise machines in a gym that tend to isolate one body part at a time (like a bicep curl machine, for example), swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible. The arms move in wide arcs, the hips are engaged as the legs scissor through the water, and the head and spine twist from side to side. Plus, with every stroke, as you reach forward, you're lengthening the body, which not only makes it more efficient in the water, it also helps give you a good stretch from head to toe.
A Healthier Heart
Swimming is a strenuous activity that will make you more heart-healthy. In addition to toning visible muscles like pectorals, triceps and quads, swimming also helps improve the most important muscle in our bodies: the heart.
Because swimming is an aerobic exercise, it serves to strengthen the heart, not only helping it to become larger, but making it more efficient in pumping -- which leads to better blood flow throughout your body. Research also shows that aerobic exercise can combat the body's inflammatory response as well.
If that's not enough to get you moving in the pool, the Australian Heart Association reports that just 30 minutes of exercise per day, such as swimming, can reduce coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent.
For some time, some people thought that because water is generally cooler than our body temperatures, it would be difficult to lose weight with a water workout. Like many old ideas about exercise this has been proven to be wrong. Swimming is now recognised as one of the biggest calorie burners around, and it's great for keeping weight under control.
The exact number of calories you burn, of course, depends on your own physiology and the intensity with which you exercise, but as a general rule, for every 10 minutes of swimming: the breast stroke will burn 60 calories; the backstroke torches 80; the freestyle lights up 100; and the butterfly stroke incinerates an impressive 150.
Being healthy is more about having the right ratio of cholesterol in your body than just having low amounts of the stuff in your blood. Specifically, it's beneficial to have higher levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL) and lower levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
Swimming can get these levels in the right balance thanks to its aerobic power, which has been proven to raise HDL levels.... the good ones!!
If all of this is not enough to convince you of the health benefits of swimming, perhaps this one will: It can keep you from dying prematurely!
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....