Maybe you only think about swimming on a hot day or during the Summer Olympics. It’s an overlooked way to supercharge your workout routine. Whether you’ve plateaued on your fitness journey or crave variety, time in the pool is always well spent. Swimming laps is a full-body workout with weight loss, cardiovascular and strength benefits.
Losing weight hinges on burning more calories than you consume. Generally speaking, swimming burns far more calories than comparable land activities. Swimming is efficient because it engages your arms, legs, core and back. Your muscles crave more calories to fuel your entire body. Many swimmers can push themselves harder because the exercise is a low-impact exercise, and the pool keeps them from overheating.
Swimming may be most impactful on the cardiovascular system. Your heart and lungs must work harder to keep all your limbs moving. Just like any other muscle group, increased work strengthens the circulatory system. Swimming builds your lung capacity because it forces you to control your breathing. This can lower resting blood pressure and improve overall endurance.
Swimming may be the ultimate resistance exercise. Land activities require you to propel your body weight. Regardless of what stroke you choose, swimming makes you work against the water while carrying your entire body weight. The opposing force taxes your muscles. This stress compounds the workout.
Activities like jogging cause wear and tear that adds up over time. The resulting joint compromise can stop training. During your laps, the water suspends your body. Swimming minimizes stress on your joints, which makes it ideal for individuals recovering from orthopedic surgery or injury.
Swimming’s low-impact nature allows you to raise the intensity or duration of your exercise. Calorie burn and muscle growth multiply. You can then tailor the workout to specific goals. For example, short high-intensity sessions maximize muscle development and weight loss. Long mid-intensity sessions supercharge endurance gains.
As you glide through the water, you must work in a three-dimensional fashion. The twisting, reaching and pulling required by each stroke elongates your muscles. This keeps you limber. Moving your joints in different planes than you would on land helps maintain mobility.
Muscle definition and body shape differ from strength and weight. Swimming effectively tones muscles because it’s a resistance exercise. Rather than mass, swimming gives you a lean appearance.
Additionally, traditional workouts often neglect certain back, shoulder and chest muscles. Swimming engages them. Coupled with fat loss, this transforms your appearance.