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How swimming can help improve your fitness

3rd October 2022

Swimming is a great sport for fitness, and it is a really accessible sport for people of all ages and abilities to get involved in. It doesn’t matter what your fitness level is, the general benefits of swimming are great as it can improve the strength of your muscles, cardio and lots more.

It is a hugely popular sport in the UK and with it being a healthy activity it is something that you can continue for a lifetime. Swimming is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits, and it is a great sport for older adults to participate in. Swimming is also really beneficial for people who suffer from mobility problems, meaning that in their day-to-day life they have to use aids such as homelifts in the UK or mobility scooters.

Read on to find out the top benefits of swimming and why it's a great activity to try in later life.

What are the benefits of swimming?

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Improves your well-being and helps you to relax
  • Can help people with arthritis and other injuries
  • Increases energy levels
  • Lowers risk of disease
  • Swimming is open to all

Strengthens muscles

Swimming is a full-body workout as it uses all the muscles in the body, so whether you are swimming breaststroke, front crawl or butterfly, you will be getting a full-body workout.

Exercising in water makes your body work harder than doing a similar exercise on land, which is why activities such as water aerobics have become so popular in recent years.

One of the main health benefits of swimming is that it strengthens your muscles as it is essentially a form of resistance training, but due to the low-impact nature of swimming it means it is a more sustainable method of toning muscles.

Many muscle groups get worked in swimming and the shoulders, abs, back, legs and triceps consistently get worked whilst you are swimming.

Improves your well-being and helps you to relax

Swimming regularly can help improve your well-being and mental health, especially if it is an activity that you do with friends or family.

Swim England talks about the mental health benefits of swimming on their site: “Being active has a positive impact on mental health including: improving mood, increasing self-esteem, lowers the risk of depression, slows dementia and cognitive decline, improves sleep and reduces stress.

“Swimming has helped to reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4 million adults in Britain. Almost half a million British adults with mental health problems have stated swimming has helped to reduce the number of visits to a medical professional regarding their mental health.”

Swimming can also help you to de-stress and relax and research has shown that it can help improve your sleep patterns. You don’t need to go lane pounding to feel more relaxed as just a light swim can help you reduce your stress levels.

Can help people with arthritis and other injuries

Swimming is a safe exercise for people who suffer from arthritis or a disability as well as anyone who has any form of mobility issue.

Swimming can even help to reduce the pain you might be suffering, and it is also known to improve your recovery from an injury. Studies have also found that people who suffer from osteoarthritis reported a reduction in joint pain and stiffness after swimming.

Turners Swim has previously spoken about the health benefits of swimming backstroke: “Backstroke is the best stroke for the spinal position. The back should remain flat, therefore flattening out the spine and avoiding hyperextension as well as helping to ease off back pain.

“This stroke strengthens the upper back, which helps to pull your shoulders back and improve posture – especially great for anyone with a desk job, to loosen off muscles that tighten during the day whilst sat down!

“Swimming as a whole is great for anyone with osteoarthritis or who struggles to bear weight, due to the low impact on joints.”

Increases energy levels

There are many swimming benefits, but one of the main ones is that swimming increases your energy levels. Inactivity is often responsible for people’s lack of energy and this can especially be the case for people suffering from mobility problems as some may need to sit down more than other people.

By swimming regularly you can boost your energy levels and this is something that The Thames Club reveals as a benefit: “Living an active lifestyle provides a positive body boost. Swimming for just 30 minutes, three times a week can boost your energy levels through increased metabolic rate.”

Lowers risk of disease

Swimming is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and by swimming for 30 minutes once a week you can help to guard yourself against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Swimming regularly lowers your blood pressure levels, and it can help you to maintain control over your cholesterol levels. The activity is also known for boosting your metabolism.

The fact that swimming is one of the most effective ways of burning calories also means that it is a great way for people to lose some weight. In fact, a gentle swim can burn more than 200 calories in just 30 minutes, which is more than double that of walking, whilst swimming quickly can burn more calories than running or cycling.

Swimming is open to all

Swimming is a very accessible exercise to get involved in as children, older adults and people who suffer from mobility issues can all enjoy the activity.

Swimming is a beneficial activity for people of any age or ability and even if you haven’t swum before, your local pool will have beginners’ lessons for people of all ages, and this will help you to get started and build your confidence.

Once you become more confident you can join a swimming club, and this is an excellent way to meet new people. By swimming as part of a club you not only will improve your swimming, but it will motivate you to exercise regularly.

If you suffer from a mobility problem and you need to use aids like a home lift but are looking to get into swimming, then hopefully this guide will encourage you to start this popular activity. To find out more about homelifts and their benefits, then read our blog.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.