Health benefits of swimming
With the heat wave continuing for another week, the thought of getting into a nice cool swimming pool sounds like heaven!
Swimming is perhaps one of the best forms of exercise that you can do in terms of working your whole body with minimal risk of injury. There are a huge number of benefits to getting in a pool regularly, which is why it is so good to include in your fitness routine. So why is it such a great form of exercise and how do you get started and keep motivated?
1. It Will Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Swimming regularly will simply make you fitter, especially if you do it frequently and get your technique nailed. If you have a good technique you will clearly get more out of your time in the pool in terms of distance covered, however the effort used will still get your heart rate up and improve endurance to help you realise all of the other benefits.
2. It Builds Muscle All Over The Body
Swimming helps in developing muscle all over the body. When you look at the Olympic swimmers, they have an amazing physique with broad shoulders and toned arms and torso. They will obviously train hard in the gym too, but it gives you a great workout for your core, legs and upper body, without the strain on your joints.
3. It Helps You Lose Weight
Swimming is a great form of exercise for people of any shape or size. For people that are overweight, exercising in the pool can be an excellent way for getting a good workout without putting a strain on joints and muscles due to the support of the water around you. You can still raise your heart rate considerably with an intense swim session and focus on specific areas of the body using training aids or flotation devices.
4. You are unlikely to incur an injury
Your body is supported by the water, so you are not going to experience any impact on joints as you would with other exercise. Swimming is the only activity that is completely non-weight bearing, so its perfect to improve or maintain fitness and complement other training.
5. You can totally detach from the outside world
The pool is perfect to relax and unwind. Unlike many other sports, where you may have your phone with you or near you if you are out running or on the bike, you can completely switch off and de-stress. You don’t have to worry about other pedestrians or cars on the road, just other swimmers in the pool.
6. It Improves Your Flexibility
When you are in the pool, you stretch your whole body. Different strokes work different muscle groups and give you a wide range of motion to help with flexibility of your joints, posture and co-ordination. It may not stretch you quite as much as some other forms of exercise such as Pilates or yoga, but you will still lengthen muscles which is so important for flexibility, muscle recovery and preventing injury.
7. It Complements Your Fitness to Improve in Other Sports
If your main activity is cycling, running or any other sport, swimming can be the perfect complement to improve your overall fitness and performance. You can increase your cardio without continual impact on the same joints and muscle groups. Include it in your training schedule to build fitness, increase strength and help with muscle recovery.
All you need to get swimming is a swimsuit, goggles and access to a pool. With any new sport or fitness regime, it can be hard to get started and into a routine that you can stick to, so it’s a good idea to set yourself a target that will work for you with a goal in mind.
Set yourself a challenge with Aspire to keep you motivated!
The Aspire Channel Swim Challenge is the perfect opportunity to help you get into the habit of regular exercise with an end target of swimming the 22 miles of the Channel over a 3-month period at times that are convenient for you!
Aspire is a spinal injury charity that provides life-changing support for individuals that have suffered a spinal injury, providing them with critical support to live a more independent and meaningful life. You can find out more about the amazing work they do here www.aspire.org.uk
Last year nearly 7,000 people registered online to complete the event, and raised an incredible amount for the charity.
Anyone can sign up to the challenge. There are some fantastic new resources online this year to make it more fun and interactive. You can set up your own profile page that will help you to monitor your progress, record your lengths and even track your position in the Channel once the swim kicks off.
The event has not only inspired people to get active but also improve their health, fitness, build confidence, achieve something they never thought possible and also raise money for an amazing cause at the same time!
Its great for individuals of any age, kids, schools or even your place of work as part of a corporate wellbeing programme. If you would like to know more about the Aspire Channel Swim as a workplace challenge to get employees active and healthy, get in touch to find out how it can form part of a wellbeing initiative for your business.
If swimming in a pool is not for you, Aspire run a whole series of open water events from the English Channel Relay, Loch Ness, River Arun or Solent swims. Aspire have years of experience in running swim events, so you can rest assured you are in safe hands with the best support and training to get you ready for your open water challenge.
I will certainly be signing up to the pool challenge myself. Swimming is not something that comes naturally to me like other sports, but I do enjoy it as a form of relaxation or cardio without the impact and I definitely notice a different in strength and tone of my upper body when I do get in the pool.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up and start your fitness journey now. You wont regret it!