An ideal form of exercise in many ways, swimming can be a fun way to stay active and increase physical strength and health. For people who have limited joint mobility, pain, or injuries, swimming enables the participant to enjoy virtually impact free exercise and even isolate specific parts of the body while working the remainder of the muscles. Swimming at a quicker pace can yield an intensive cardiovascular workout and increase lung strength. Swimming at a slower pace can be relaxing and soothing. One major advantage to swimming for exercise is that the participant can essentially tailor the workout without necessarily needing to use additional equipment or to move to a different setting.
Although no exercise equipment is necessary when swimming, using certain tools like kick boards and swim fins can help participants who wish to especially target certain muscle groups. For example, resting the torso on a floating board allows the swimmer to concentrate on propelling him or herself forward with the arms. Holding a kick board allows for greater concentration on working the leg muscles. Holding on to the side of the pool while kicking also allows swimmers to focus on the leg muscles.
As swimming enables participants to work the arms, back, hips, and buttocks, it is an excellent exercise for building core strength and may be a superior form of exercise for those who suffer with back ailments. Having a strong core is key to stabilizing and balancing the body. Swimmers should concentrate on maintaining properly aligned posture and engaging their core while relaxing the body. This will help build the core muscles and may even translate to improved posture while on land.
Although swimming can help those who enjoy it achieve many desirable fitness results, swimming is not a weight bearing activity; therefore, it is not an effective way to create bulkier muscles. However, regular swimming can increase muscle tone and flexibility as warm water and fluid movements allow swimmers to loosen and stretch their muscles. Overall, swimming is an exercise that can benefit people of all ages. From improved endurance and cardiovascular health to supporting weight management and increasing muscle tone and flexibility, swimming can be incorporated into virtually any fitness routine, from those of beginners to very advanced athletes.