Dive into wellness: the health benefits of swimming

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    Whether you’re a super competitive swimmer or a recreational swimmer, this full-body, low-impact exercise is an excellent choice for a wide range of people. Discover more about the health benefits of swimming as Bloom and trusted medical partner, Momentum Health4Me explore the sport and pastime that offers exceptional benefits for healthcare and wellness.

    10 Benefits of swimming

    Swimming is a full-body workout because it engages multiple muscle groups and provides a robust cardiovascular exercise that targets both the low and upper body areas. Some of the health benefits of swimming include:

    1. Muscle strength and core activation. In order to maintain their balance and stability in the water, swimmers have to engage their core muscles. Core muscles are the abdominals, obliques and lower back.
    2. Cardiovascular exercise. Swimming is classified as an aerobic activity that elevates the heart rate and increases circulation. This cardiovascular activity is great for heart health, lung capacity and building endurance.
    3. Upper body exercise. Primary swimming strokes like freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke all require continuous arm movements. This actively engages the shoulders, arms, chest and upper back, which contributes to the development of upper body strength and toning.
    4. Leg work. Continuous kicking motions provide a great workout for the lower body. When you’re swimming, you use your legs to propel your body through the water, which works all areas of the legs, like the glutes, calves and hamstrings.
    5. Low impact. Swimming is a low-impact exercise because the buoyancy of water supports your body, reducing the impact on your joints, bones and connective tissues. As a result, healthcare practitioners will often recommend swimming as an exercise for those suffering from arthritis or recovering from injuries.
    6. Improved strength and muscle tone. Resistance training is one of the great health benefits of swimming. Water provides resistance to movement, which makes swimming a great resistance and strength-training exercise.
    7. Reduced risk of injuries. Due to the buoyancy provided in water, the risk of stress-related injuries is greatly reduced, as opposed to the risk associated with high-impact exercises, like running.
    8. Weight loss and weight management. Swimming burns a significant amount of calories per hour. So it’s a great way to lose weight.
    9. Improved flexibility and better posture. Swimming improves stretching and balance as it requires coordination because it uses the shoulders, hips, and spine.
    10. Stress management and mental health benefits. While swimming is great for physical exercise it’s also known to reduce stress levels because it’s meditative and relaxing to be in the water.

    Who can benefit from swimming?

    The health benefits of swimming are numerous. It’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels, but this exercise is particularly well-suited for the following:

    1. Pregnant women

    Swimming is a good low-impact activity for pregnant women. Due to the weightless nature of water, there is a decreased risk of injury, making it a safe exercise for pregnant women while offering a great, full-body cardiovascular workout.

    The buoyancy of the water puts minimal stress on the body and alleviates the pressure a woman may be experiencing on her spine and supporting muscles. It can be particularly enjoyable in the later stages of pregnancy when women may be experiencing strain on the lower back. Swimming can also help reduce swelling in the extremities. Cool water can help regulate a pregnant woman’s body temperature and the right swimming workout can help prepare her for labour by strengthening pelvic floor muscles.

    2. People with arthritis and joint pain

    Swimming is a recommended low-impact exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain. Once submerged, there is minimal stress on weight-bearing joints, like the hips, knees and ankles. This can provide one with pain relief, reducing swelling in the joints and providing relief from inflammation. In addition to this, swimming can help ease stiffness and improve mobility because the water can help lubricate the joints, reducing friction and discomfort.

    Swimming offers a comprehensive range of motion for several muscle groups and joints. This can help one improve or preserve joint flexibility, which is especially beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. It also builds muscle strength in areas like the back, abdominals, legs, arms and shoulders.

    3. Rehabilitation and physical therapy patients

    Swimming is a great exercise for people who are undergoing rehabilitation and physical therapy for injuries or certain medical conditions. Swimming aids in many areas of recovery and offers a soothing, therapeutic environment. The low-impact activity puts minimal stress on the joints, bones and soft tissues, which is beneficial for those who may be experiencing pain from surgery or a health condition.

    Swimming offers patients a full-body workout while engaging multiple muscle groups, targeting specific areas that are weakened and need to rebuild their strength. This contributes to overall strength, endurance and flexibility. The improved range of motion helps restores a patient’s flexibility and mobility without compromising their comfort levels. The water’s resistance assists with balance and coordination, so it is particularly beneficial for those patients who need to practice regaining control of their movements after surgery or for those suffering from a neurological condition.

    4. People with cardiovascular conditions

    Swimming is an excellent exercise choice for people who suffer from cardiovascular conditions, like heart disease. It offers a great cardiovascular workout, improving circulation throughout the body and reducing the risk of blood clots and related complications in the process. The exercise helps regulate and maintain a healthy heart rate, allowing for better heart health, functioning and rhythm. Swimming can also positively impact cholesterol levels by reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL levels. This is because swimming burns calories and aids in weight loss.

    5. People with asthma and respiratory conditions

    Swimming is a good option for those suffering from asthma or other types of respiratory conditions. This low-impact exercise reduces the risk of an asthma attack. Swimming often takes place in a controlled pool environment so there is reduced exposure to outdoor allergens, like pollen or grass seeds, which could trigger an asthma attack. Swimming can help improve lung capacity through aerobic activity. It encourages one to control one’s breathing which promotes respiratory muscle strength.

    While swimming is beneficial for those with respiratory conditions, it’s essential to take precautions if one suffers from asthma.

    • Be mindful of certain pool chemicals. Those with asthma are often sensitive to certain strong chemicals.
    • Be aware of any outdoor trigger allergens if you’re swimming outdoors.
    • Practice a gradual warm-up routine. Avoid a sudden increase in one’s breathing rate, which could trigger an asthma attack.
    • It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before embarking on a swimming programme.

    6. People on a weight management programme

    Swimming is a great exercise option for those who are embarking on a weight loss journey. Used in combination with a balanced diet and other lifestyle adjustments, a good cardiovascular workout, like swimming, is a good way to burn calories and lose weight. Because swimming is one of the best low-impact exercises, it’s an ideal choice for those who need an exercise that won’t put undue stress or pressure on weight-related joints. Swimming allows people to adjust the intensity of their workout in order to meet their fitness levels. The best swimming strokes for weight loss are:

    • Freestyle. One of the most common swimming strokes engages multiple muscle groups. This high-level aerobic stroke elevates heart rate and burns significant calories after sustained and consistent activity.
    • Butterfly. While this swimming style does burn a lot of calories, it is also quite a demanding swimming stroke as it requires significant upper-body strength and coordination. So it might not be suitable for beginner swimmers.
    • Breaststroke. This is a moderate-intensity swimming stroke. It doesn’t have the same high-level calorie burn as freestyle or butterfly, but it does offer a good cardiovascular workout and targets various muscle groups thereby contributing to one’s weight loss efforts.
    • Backstroke. This swimming style is less intense than freestyle and butterfly but it is an effective calorie-burning stroke that targets the back, shoulders and arms. It’s also quite an easy stroke so it’s suitable for people of low to mid fitness levels.
    • Interval training. Instead of concentrating exclusively on one type of stroke, one can alternate between different swimming strokes of varying intensities.

    7. Persons with disability

    Swimming is an exercise that can be used as part of a rehabilitation plan or therapeutic session for those with physical disabilities. The buoyancy and support of water is a good way for those with disabilities to move about without putting undue pressure on their bodies, especially if certain movements cause pain and discomfort. Many swimming pools have accessibility features, like ramps, lifts and other support equipment, which make it easier for those with disabilities to access. Safety, however, is important so it’s advisable to consult with a trained coach or healthcare professional who can tailor a swimming programme to a person’s specific requirements.

    Healthcare cover for you and your family

    Bloom encourages members to commit to healthy living. This means eating a balanced diet, making smart lifestyle choices and engaging in regular exercise. There are many health benefits of swimming, which is an excellent choice of exercise  Make sure you and your family have healthcare coverage. You can apply for affordable comprehensive Health4Me health insurance. Our team of consultants can provide guidance in selecting the best plan for you. Contact our offices for free health insurance quotes.

    Medical Content Disclaimer

    You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.

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