Off all the physical activities, swimming is for most people their favorite and here’s why:
Improved Flexibility- When you are swimming, you are stretching your arms and that makes your shoulders stronger, arms agile and joints supple. Unlike exercise machines in a gym that tend to isolate one body part at a time (like a bicep curl machine, for example), swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible.
Healthier Heart- Because swimming is an aerobic exercise, it serves to strengthen the heart, not only helping it to become larger, but making it more efficient in pumping — which leads to better blood flow throughout your body. Research also shows that aerobic exercise can combat the body’s inflammatory response as well — a key link in the chain that can lead to heart disease.
Weight Control- For some time, some people thought that because water is generally cooler than our body temperatures, it would be difficult to lose weight with a water workout. Like many old ideas about exercise, this has since been revised: Swimming is now recognized as one of the biggest calorie burners around, and it’s great for keeping weight under control.
Improved Asthma Symptoms- Unlike exercising in the often dry air of the gym, or contending with seasonal allergies or frigid winter air, swimming provides the chance to work out in moist air, which can help reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms.
By taking deeper breaths, pool workouts help you avoid asthma attacks if you’re prone to them and relaxes you. Some studies have shown that swimming can actually improve the condition overall.
Lower Risk of Diabetes- When it comes to warding off diabetes, there are few prescriptions as powerful as aerobic exercise. In one study, men reduced their risk of diabetes by an average of 6 percent for every 500 calories a week they burned in aerobic exercise.
And, if you already have type 1 diabetes, the aerobic benefits of swimming can be particularly helpful, as this type of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity.
Lower Stress, Higher Spirits and a Better Brain- In his book “The Swimming Instructor”, William Wilson wrote in the 1883: “The experienced swimmer, when in the water, may be classed among the happiest of mortals in the happiest of moods, and in the most complete enjoyment of the happiest of exercises.”
Wilson probably didn’t know this in the 19th century, but all that happiness was likely due to the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins — one of swimming’s most pleasant side effects. In addition to a natural high, swimming can also evoke the relaxation response the same way yoga works on the body. This is due in large part to the constant stretching and relaxing of your muscles combined with deep rhythmic breathing. Swimming is also a meditative exercise, with the sound of your own breathing and the splash of the water acting as a mantra of sorts that can help you “drown out” all other distractions.
Aside from the metaphysical benefits of swimming, research has shown that it can actually change the brain for the better through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, in which the brain replaces cells lost through stress.
You Just Might Live Longer- In the 1985 Ron Howard movie “Cocoon,” a group of elderly adults discovers that a nearby swimming pool has the power to imbue them with new strength, enhanced energy and a more youthful sense of well-being. While the cause of their new lease on life turns out to be from another planet, it doesn’t take alien technology to reap the benefits of your neighborhood pool.
Even without the aid of mysterious otherworldly cocoons, regular swimming can offer anyone, especially older adults, a wide range of health benefits — including feeling and looking younger and even live longer. Actually, we’re not promising Aquaman-like immortality, but it seems that swimming can at least help you avoid dying prematurely.
Now, about the question, can swimming build up muscles? Does it help make your body perfect? Take a look at two of the best swimmers ever.
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Muscles? You bet. But would you say they had “built up” muscles if you saw them fully dressed? Probably not. Now consider the other extreme.
While some argue that swimming wouldn’t be the best way to build muscle mass, others believe that it definitely helps you in building muscle while taking it easy on your body at the same time. To stimulate new muscle growth, you have to give the muscles a reason to grow. Including swimming in your fitness routine would not take out weight training but it is nonetheless hardly arguable that it doesn’t help increase muscle tone and strength! Ever seen a flabby dolphin or a weak-looking competitive swimmer?
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