It’s very normal to gain some weight during Christmas holidays and very common to want to lose it as soon as possible afterwards. There are lots of different activities and sports you can do to start burning these calories off. Running and cycling consider being the main types of aerobic exercise especially when someone tries to lose weight. Swimming on the other side is an activity that helps in burning lots of calories while it has lots of other positive effects on the body. More specifically:
It’s a whole body workout.
Swimming is a type of exercise that strengthens and lengthens the muscles at the same time. When you follow a workout in the gym you normally have to do a bit of running at the beginning (to warm up the body), weight lifting to build up muscle mass and stretching in the end to avoid injuries and stiffness. Swimming is an all in one type of exercise that can do all of the above at the same time, of course by doing a variety of different exercises and swimming styles.
It’s better for people who suffer from an injury.
Lots of doctors, physiotherapists and fitness experts usually advise people to start swimming after an injury. Swimming is great for recovery and for slowly strengthening the body after an injury. It is also injury – free and can help in protecting your bones and joints as there are minor impacts in the water. It has also been found that swimming may improve or help in treating osteopenia(1) as well as it can improve the bone mass density and decrease osteoporosis in comparison to people who don’t exercise(2).
May help asthmatic people and in reducing blood pressure.
There are findings that swimming can help to prevent from respiratory conditions and asthma as it increases the lung volume (3, 4). Other studies reported (5,6) that moderate levels of swimming can help in lowering the systolic blood pressure to individuals with hypertension when compared to a control group or to previous sedentary individuals. If you have just been diagnosed with blood pressure or if you blood pressure is slightly raised, definitely try adding swimming to your daily routine or at least 2 to 3 times a week.
Swimming can have positive psychological effects, be refreshing for the body and mind – stress free. Similar to other type of exercises when you go for a swim, endorphins are increased in the body and that make you feel happier and more energetic.
There are a variety of classes you can do in the water.
Last but not least have you ever thought how many different options swimming can give you? It consists of four different strokes frontcrawl, backstroke, breastroke and butterfly and you can always combine the strokes and do your own exercises. If you are a team player you can also try swimming in a team, water polo, underwater rugby, synchronized swimming, diving as well as classes like aqua aerobic and aqua Zumba.
Just remember that you don’t need to be Michael Phelps to start swimming. Swimming is for everyone, at any age, for pregnant women and for people with any disabilities and it will definitely be a good way to lose the pounds you gained during Christmas.
- Orwoll, E., S., Ferar, J., Oviatt, S., K., McClung, M., R., Huntington, K. (1989). The relationship of swimming exercise to bone mass in men and women. Arch Intern Med, 149 (10), 2197 – 2200.
- Andreoli, A., Monteleone, M., Van Loan, M., Promenzio, U., Tarantino, U. and De Lorenzo, A. (2001). Effects of different sports on bone density and muscle mass in highly trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exer, 33(4), 507 – 511.
- Font-Ribera, L., Villanueva, C. M., Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J., Zock, J., Kogevinas, M. and Henderson, J. (2011). Swimming pool attendance, asthma, allergies, and lung function in the avon longitudinal study of parents and children cohort. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 183 (5), 582 – 588.
- Font – Ribera, L., Villanueva, C.M., Gracia-Lavedan, E., Borras-Santos, A., Kogevinas, M., and Zock, J.P. (2014). Indoor swimming pool attendance and respiratory and dermal health in schoolchildren-HITEA Catalonia. Respir Med, 108 (7), 1056 – 9.
- Basett, T. H., Howley, D. R.Jr, Thompson, E., Muhammad, D. L. A. and Freeman R. (1997). Swimming training lowers the resting blood pressure in individuals with hypertension. Journal of Hypertension, 15 (6), 651 – 657.
- Nualnim, N., Parkhurst, K., Dhindsa, M., Tarumi, T., Vavrek, J. and Tanaka, H. (2012). Effects of swimming training on blood pressure and vascular function in adults >50 years of age. The American Journal of Cardiology, 109 (7), 1005 – 1010.