Swimming to a Healthy Lifestyle
It is not a myth that you hear that swimming is one of the best exercises one can do. Just jump in a pool and see for yourself. Swimming produces the same results in terms of cardiovascular health as other cardio exercises, such as running, but adds virtually no stress to your knees, back and other body parts that may be negatively affected by running as well as providing resistance training to strengthen your muscles. Swimming is ideal for nearly anybody because the mere weightlessness of the pool (you weigh approximately 1/10th less heavy in water) can help strengthen your shoulders, arms, back, legs and abdominal muscles.
When you run, you only use your legs to power through, depriving yourself of proper upper body training. However, when you swim, you use both your lower and upper body to propel yourself through the water, resulting in more total calories burned (if you are swimming as hard as you run). Since swimming is a low-impact exercise, it can be performed by nearly anybody, such as pregnant women or elderly people. In addition, swimming helps work on your breathing and oxygen intake without overworking your heart. The controlled breathing that is required with proper strokes (holding your breath until your head comes out of the water to breathe again while you are still performing vigorous exercise) will improve your cardiovascular health, develop your lungs into more efficient organs, and force your body to pump oxygen-filled blood more effectively to its muscles than it is used to.
“Swimming does burn calories at a rate of about 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 lbs. and it takes you 30 minutes to swim one mile (1,760 yards or 1,609 meters), then you will be using about 900 calories in one hour.” (Swimming.about.com) However, the amount of calories burned obviously is contingent upon how fast your pace is and the amount of time lapsed. This is just a good indication of the calories you could burn.
Furthermore, swimming can be an important stress reliever. You use more oxygen when you swim and thus, you can regulate your breathing. As a result, you feel more relaxed when in the pool and out. Not to mention, how great does it feel to jump in a cold pool after a sweaty workout or hot day?
Also, cold water takes a tremendous amount of heat out of your body. Much more so than air, even at the same temperatures (Water at 70 degrees dissipates 25x more heat out of your body than air at 70 degrees, meaning it will take a tremendous amount of calories just to sustain the heat to keep you warm in the water). What you might find startling is that Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day but he manages to stay so lean! Obviously, swimming is a great workout that will help you lean out (as long as you don’t crawl like a turtle and you actually work hard in the pool).
Swimming proves to be the exercise of choice for many fitness-enthusiasts. If you incorporate proper interval training when swimming (sprints and fast paced long distance laps) then you will see a dramatic change in both your overall look and health.
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