If you’ve ever looked at professional swimmers and marveled at just how fit and well-toned their bodies are then you probably know that swimming is a form of exercise. You might also be wondering just how much swimming you’d need to do before you also get in such good Michael Phelps shape. The answer is simple; same time as you would need to achieve the same feat in the gym, maybe even shorter. Swimming gives the body a workout that is as good as a cardio session undertaken in the same period of time.
Swimming effectively works out almost the entire body. Swimming faster and over longer periods of time can easily be compared to normal gym workout sessions.
Some of the muscles that are actively engaged when you are swimming include:
- Arm muscles (biceps and triceps) -using your arms to paddle as you move will engage all the muscles in your arm and give them a thorough workout. Doing the backstroke will work those arms out even more
- Leg muscles- you automatically use your legs to propel yourself forward or backward as you swim. This is a good exercise for all the leg muscles including the calf, thighs, and glutes
- Core muscles- swimming engages your core muscles as well when you glide in the water. Having a strong core gives one graceful movement in the water
- Back muscles- it is difficult to involve core muscles and leave out back muscles. These two body parts get worked out almost simultaneously
Having briefly examined the muscles that are actively exercised while swimming, it is important to know what the effects of swimming are to your overall health and fitness.
Swimming is an aerobic activity on its own. Taking part in swimming will increase your heart rate significantly and this guarantees improved blood circulation and stronger cardiovascular health.
It takes strength to propel yourself from one end of the pool to the other and back. Swimming helps you build stamina and strengthen your core to be able to go back and forth in the pool. Doing more difficult styles such as the backstroke strengthens the core even more. This helps you build overall endurance just like you would do with weight training. The resistance provided by water is much higher than that which is provided by the air, making swimming a tad more efficient than regular workouts.
Maneuvering in water as you do your laps helps improve your overall body flexibility. This is also compounded by the ability to switch from one style to the other and even do stunts against the water resistance. It all sounds pretty easy but it’s actually not especially if you think about synchronized swimmers.
Water generally has a cooling effect. Swimming will not only work out your muscles, it will also help soothe them and help promote faster muscle healing. In addition, swimming helps remove tension from the muscle and joints leaving you feeling refreshed even after swimming for a long period of time.
Swimming is fun activity without a doubt. The feeling of water lapping around you as you go from one end of the swimming pool to the next triggers the release of dopamine which is the feel-good neurochemical. This instantly improves your mood making you even more relaxed and happy. This is the exact same effect that comes with regular workouts.
If you want to get into shape or maintain your current physique without breaking a sweat then swimming should be at the top of your priorities. You will not only get that professional swimmers’ body but you’ll have guaranteed fun while at it. Be sure to keep it regular for visible gains.