Staying fit and active is essential if you want to increase your longevity and your overall quality of life in the process.
The main downside to that is that not everyone enjoys exercise and being active.
When you think of exercise, what’s the first image that appears in your mind’s eye?
For many people, they picture themselves running on a treadmill, or sweating in a crowded gym, using machines they don’t enjoy.
If you enjoy the exercise you’re doing, that’s all well and good, but if not, it’s pointless going through the motions just to make yourself miserable.
Instead of doing exercise that you dislike, why not look for an exercise that you enjoy instead?
As we’re looking at the benefits of swimming today, you can probably guess what form of exercise we’re covering today.
Swimming is an activity that people often forget also happens to be a great form of exercise, which provides plenty of health benefits to those that perform it.
Here’s a look at 16 surprising swimming benefits.
Table Of Contents
One of the best things about swimming is the fact that it is suitable for people of all ages.
Some fitness activities are most certainly best left for people of a particular age.
High-Intensity CrossFit workouts, for example, would ideally be best for younger individuals.
That’s not to say that elderly people can’t do high-intensity workouts or CrossFit, it’s simply due to the fact that they’ll likely find it tougher, and it could present more risks.
Swimming, though, is an activity that can be performed by people of all ages, making it a great all-around activity for people looking to get fit and have fun.
Whether you’re 5 years old, or 95 years old, swimming is a very suitable form of exercise to enjoy.
Another of the fantastic benefits that we’re looking at today, is the fact that swimming is considered to be so much fun by a lot of people that do it.
Exercise, if you are not enjoying it, is simply not a practical as eventually there will come a time where you have had enough and you decide to throw in the towel and call it a day.
On the flip side, if you are looking forward to exercising and working out, you’ll work harder and you will be full of energy and motivation which will only spur you on further.
Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity that you will look forward to doing, and actually enjoy performing.
It won’t actually feel like exercise at all, so your training session will be more productive as a result.
Another of the surprising benefits that we’re going to look at today, is the fact that swimming is in fact a valuable skill to possess.
Swimming lessons are provided to children to teach them to swim from a young age because they could literally save their lives or the lives of others.
Even if you know how to swim, the more swimming you perform, the better you will get, and the easier it will be.
This will not only potentially help save you, but you could also possibly save somebody else.
If you’re dealing with an injury, or are recovering from an injury, swimming is a great activity to perform.
Swimming is a low impact form of physical exertion that does not place a lot of stress on the bones or joints.
As a result, it’s a great way to rehabilitate an existing injury.
Whether you’re dealing with a knee injury, ankle issues, shoulder pain, or anything else, swimming will allow you to exercise and gently work the target muscles/joints, without putting them under a lot of pressure.
Sticking with the injury theme, if you did happen to have an injury that prevented you from performing a certain swimming stroke such as the Front Crawl, you could instead change your stroke and perform one that is more forgiving on the affected area.
If Front Crawl was off the table, you could try Breast Stroke, or Butterfly perhaps.
You don’t have to adapt your stroke based upon injury either, you could simply change it just to mix things up a bit and try something different.
To say that all swimming-based workouts are the same would be like saying that all forms of cardio exercise are the same.
In reality, there are plenty of different workout options that you can utilize when it comes to swimming, to help break up the monotony.
You can try steady-state cardio sessions where you leisurely swim lengths/laps around the pool at a slow and steady pace, or you could step up the intensity and aim to swim each lap as quickly as possible.
A lot of people like to perform HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sessions in the pool, whereby they’ll swim at a slow and steady pace for, say, 30 seconds, before going all out, ramping up the intensity, and swimming as fast as they can for 30 seconds, and repeating the process over and over again.
Having the choice to switch things up will not only help break up the boredom, but it will also help keep the body guessing and help you get more from your workouts.
If you want an effective form of exercise designed to enable you to burn fat at a very impressive rate, look no further than swimming.
Swimming is one of the best cardiovascular workouts going, with just enough elements of resistance thrown in to really put you through your paces like never before.
People often fail to see the fat-burning potential of swimming because, as you’re in the water, you feel cooler than usual and you obviously don’t visibly sweat.
Don’t let that fool you, though, because an hour of swimming is one of the best ways to burn fat that you could ever wish for.
One hour of swimming at moderately high intensity could potentially burn off upwards of 600 – 650 calories on average.
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t just important for the waistline, it is also important for the heart.
In fact, the word is derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘Kardia’ which meant ‘Heart’.
Heart disease takes more lives each year than any other health ailment and as a result, it is absolutely essential that we do everything in our power to look after our hearts and keep them in the best condition possible.
Cardiovascular exercise such as swimming is ideal, as it reduces blood pressure, reduces LDL cholesterol, strengthens the heart and blood vessels, and reduces your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and much more besides.
Put simply, one of the main swimming benefits is the fact that it is great for the heart, making it a very beneficial form of exercise indeed.
Okay, if you want to transform your physique into that of a huge bodybuilder, swimming alone won’t do that, and anybody that tries to tell you otherwise is talking nonsense.
However, what swimming will do is help to promote marginal increases in lean muscle mass, whilst helping to strengthen and tone the muscles.
When you swim, you are performing a gentle form of resistance training, as resistance comes in the form of the water.
Whilst fighting against the water is not going to yield the same amounts of muscle hypertrophy as deadlifts or bench presses, it will still yield some muscle growth and will help to tone the muscles.
If you want an idea of what kind of results swimming can yield, just look at the physiques of professional swimmers.
Working out alone can be therapeutic, but at the same time, it can also sometimes become boring and tedious as well.
If you find that you exercise better with others, why not take up swimming?
Swimming is an activity that you can do with your friends, you can join a swimming club, you can get involved with other people in the pool, or members of your family.
This is one of the many benefits that could also be tied to the fact that it is fun, though enjoyment isn’t the only benefit of training with other people.
If you swim with somebody else, you’ll find that you will likely work harder thanks to the competitive element there.
With so many people affected by the ill-effects of poor mental health, the more we can lift our spirits, the better.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will suffer from poor mental health at some point in their lives, though experts actually believe this number to be closer to 2 in 4 people.
One of the best things about swimming is the fact that it has been found to play such a positive role in improving people’s mental health.
Swimming, like many other forms of exercise, helps to promote an increase in the production of endorphins which elevate our moods.
Then there’s the fact that swimming can also be very relaxing, plus the positive changes you see in your physique will likely boost your self-esteem.
Another way in which swimming helps to promote weight loss is that it has been found to boost metabolism.
Have you ever noticed how, as soon as you finish swimming and have showered and got changed, you find yourself feeling ravenously hungry?
This is because swimming is an activity that, because it is so physically demanding, helps to crank up the metabolism faster than ever before.
The faster your metabolism is, the more calories you will burn and the more energy you will have.
One of the lesser-known benefits is the fact that it has been found to help improve flexibility.
Swimming is an activity that works the entire body, combining elements of resistance training with elements of cardiovascular exercise to provide a fantastic all-around form of physical exercise and exertion.
The actual act of swimming requires you to stretch, reach, bend, and twist your limbs in the water, and the more you do, the more agile and flexible you will be.
Those that are looking to improve their flexibility often find that swimming works wonders.
Hypertension, which you probably know as ‘high blood pressure’ is also referred to as the ‘silent killer’ due to the fact that it is so difficult to diagnose, and it can lead to a multitude of health issues, at any point.
Hypertension puts you at risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurism, kidney failure, and a whole lot more besides.
The good news is that it can be naturally reduced, without the need for medication in some instances, and swimming and similar physical activities is a great way of doing exactly that.
Okay, if you’re planning on doing the vast majority of your swimming in a swimming pool, you’ll probably want to skip this next benefit.
For those of you who are lucky enough to be able to swim in the sea or ocean regularly, this is for you.
Saltwater has been found to be great for the skin, helping to draw out impurities, to moisturize and nourish it, and keep it looking and feeling healthy and vibrant.
Sadly, commercial swimming pools are loaded full of chemicals, such as chlorine, which don’t really do the skin much good at all.
Finally, the last of the benefits of swimming that we’re looking at today, is that it promotes a good night’s sleep.
Swimming is physically demanding, and the more you do, the more energy you expel.
This will make you feel tired which is already a great start when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Then there are the endorphins, which not only lift your mood but also help you to relax as well.
This is why you nearly always sleep so well after a solid hour or so at the pool.
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.