Swimming is the exercise that does it all.
This time of year, it’s not hard to convince someone to go jump in a lake. Swimming is a great
way to cool off and have fun with friends. But this low-impact exercise is so much more!
Swimming is a stress-reducing, calorie-burning, mood-boosting wonder. Check out the benefits
of swimming a few laps.
Strength and muscle definition – Swimming puts your whole body to work. Your arms are
over your head and your core is engaged, trying to keep your body level with the surface of the
water. This means swimming engages muscles that are often underutilized. Your lats, deltoids,
and traps all get a workout, and your abs will thank you.
Flexibility – The repetitive movements found in swimming help keep our bodies limber – or get
that way in a hurry. As you reach, pull, and kick, you’re working against liquid pressure. The
resistance of water can be up to 44 times greater than air. So every stretching move you do while
swimming is like flexing with weights or resistance bands.
Inflammation reduction – Swimming is great for the cardiovascular system because it
strengthens the heart muscle. But studies have also shown that swimming reduces the
inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build up in the heart. Swimming laps can benefit your
heart in more ways than one.
Stress management – Like other exercise, swimming releases endorphins that make you feel
fantastic. But being in the water provides extra emotional benefits. When you’re submerged, the
water dulls the amount of sensory information bombarding your body. This escape can bring on
feelings of calm. With its repetitive movement, swimming can be a kind of meditation.
Asthma improvement – Not only can swimming alleviate symptoms, but it can actually
improve overall lung condition. Dry air in climate-controlled gyms or pollen-heavy outdoor
conditions can make exercise challenging for asthmatics. But the moist air around a pool makes
it easier to breathe and work out. Plus, a recent study showed that kids who swam saw
improvements in asthma symptoms and the need for ER visits.
Calorie burn – If you can’t tell that you’re sweating, it can be hard to sense how hard you’re
working out. But don’t let that cool water fool you – swimming can burn as many calories as
running. Just 10 minutes of the butterfly stroke can burn 150 calories. By contrast, running a 10-
minute mile burns 100 calories. Your calorie burn while swimming depends on the stroke and
Swimming is an activity anyone can do. No matter your skill level, you can have fun and get an
effective workout. And summer is the perfect time to give swimming a try. Cool off, work out,
and jump in!
Dr. Lynn McIntosh is a board-certified chiropractor. In addition to being licensed to provide
general chiropractic care, she is also a certified chiropractic sports physician, working with
athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems. She’s also board-certified
in acupuncture. Learn more at KansasCityChiropractic.com.