Swimming is good for you in so many ways.

With cardiovascular benefits, the taxing of several different muscle groups and a low impact nature, swimming is the ideal sport for many. Whether it’s to aid in recovery from injury, or provide a challenge to your competitive nature, swimming is good for you in more ways than one, and in this post we list 8!
1. Getting to the heart of it

One of the main reasons that swimming is good for you is due to the cardiovascular benefits it offers. Other sports such as cycling and running may offer more intense cardio conditioning, but swimming often provides stimulation at just the right intensity.

Without having to contend with variable gradients and biting headwinds, swimming is a more forgiving method of exercising for many. People of all ages and abilities can easily find their level and tax their systems sufficiently without having to suffer.

2. The full body workout

There are few sports that provide the balanced workout that swimming does. Swimming works all of the main muscle groups in the body. From the shoulders to the core, and from the triceps to the back and legs, it nurtures balanced strength and a strong posture in those that practice.

3. Cross-training

Swimming is unique in that it provides a solid cardiovascular workout while also stimulating different muscle groups in the body. More importantly, however, it does this without impacting the joints. Many other sports increase wear and tear on the joints through repeated impacts.

Over time, and without proper care for the body, repeated impacts on the joints can often lead to problems down the line. Baseball players suffer from shoulder injuries, while runners often suffer from knee and hip problems. Swimmers, however, usually remain free of such issues.

With its low-impact nature, swimming is a sport you can enjoy right into old age, safe in the knowledge that you're not wearing your body down.

4. It's all about the core

A weak core is responsible for a host of conditions. From poor posture to lower back pain and the gradual misalignment that comes about over the years. It can wreak havoc if left unchecked.

Swimming can be a wonderful way to reengage the core. It helps develops strength by utilising the core muscles simultaneously. An engaged core helps connect the precise movements of the body throughout the entire stroke. Without core stability, your stroke will be compromised. By practicing and honing your technique, you also improve core strength.

Constantly engaged while swimming, it accounts for approximately 30% of the muscular effort required when swimming. The benefits that stem from having a strong core are perhaps one of the most obvious signs that swimming is good for you.

5. Staying flexible

We’ve all known runners and cyclists who can't touch their toes. That repetitive cyclical action shortens the calves and hamstrings, making some athletes dangerously tight and prone to injury. One of the reasons why swimming is so good for you is the increased flexibility it can infer.

Swimming in warm water - if happen to be in a pool - relaxes the muscles and thus increases flexibility. After swimming you should always stretch out. And one thing you'll notice is that it becomes much easier to achieve a satisfying stretch with no noticeable tightness after a swim.

Stretching also helps flush out toxins and lactic acid, which in turn help with recovery. We all know what happens when we forget to stretch after an intense workout! That stiffness can linger for days as your body slowly recovers.

6. Maintain the ideal body weight

It's difficult to quantify exactly how many calories a person burns while swimming. Intensity can vary greatly, but estimates suggest that most swimmers burn approximately 600 calories per hour.

When you burn sufficient calories, you eventually start to tap into that stored body fat as an energy source, and thus lose weight. The butterfly stroke is the most efficient in terms of calories expended. But for those who haven’t mastered the most difficult of strokes, it's followed by the front crawl and then the backstroke and breaststroke.

Regular swimming can greatly help with weight loss or indeed in maintaining a healthy weight. Don't underestimate the advantages of coupling regular swimming with a healthy diet free of high-glycemic foods however.

7. Balancing blood sugar and blood pressure

With modern lifestyles, high blood pressure and unstable blood sugar levels have become an epidemic. Studies have demonstrated that swimming can help combat both of these. By swimming regularly you help ensure that your body becomes more receptive to carbohydrate intake.

This negates the high levels of insulin and ensures that your body is more receptive to carbohydrate. Rather than converting that dietary carbohydrate to fat, it uses it to replenish the muscle glycogen stores.

When it comes to blood pressure, any physical activity that makes your heart stronger is beneficial, and swimming is no exception. With a stronger heart, you can pump more blood with less effort, thus decreasing your blood pressure.

8. Numbing the pain

People with arthritis and back pain can have a hard time doing traditional exercise. Swimming in a temperature-controlled pool can help relieve joint stiffness and pain. And with the reduced impact involved in swimming, it helps preserve joint health.

While swimming can help with muscle development and joint health, unfortunately, it won't do much to strengthen brittle bones. You'll require some strength training for that.

Swimming can be a fun and rewarding activity for people of all ages. At Decathlon we’re dedicated to helping make sure that you get the most from your experience. We stock a wide range of swimming related accessories and aids to help ensure you gain the aforementioned benefits. Swimming is good for you in more ways than one, and at Decathlon we’re determined to spread that message!