The Health Benefits of Swimming

Happy senior man swimmingThe heat of the summer makes it hard to find a comfortable time to exercise outdoors. In addition, as we age it becomes more difficult to find ways to exercise without putting a lot of strain on joints, muscles and bones. Luckily, low-impact swimming is a fantastic way to address these concerns, exercise many parts of the body and beat the summer heat. Let’s look at a few of the major health benefits of swimming for exercise.

  • It’s good for the heart – Over time, swimming can help lower your heart rate and improve blood pressure and circulation. It has even been prescribed by doctors for patients recovering from heart failure or artery disease.
  • It’s easy on joints – While running gives a great cardiovascular workout, the impact of your heel hitting the ground can be very rough on hips and knees. The buoyancy of water removes that impact, allowing your joints to strengthen more slowly and safely.
  • It works all the muscles – Swimming (especially lap swimming) is a full-body workout, exercising muscles in your core, arms, legs and back without the risk of improperly using heavy weights.
  • It’s great for pregnant women – Every woman’s pregnancy affects her body differently, but most expectant mothers experience joint pain and muscle discomfort during their pregnancy. Water aerobics are a perfect way to work out some of that pain and ease discomfort from tight muscles.
  • It helps manage cholesterol – If a trip to the doctor’s office reveals your cholesterol levels are high, hop in the pool! Swimming helps reduce LDL cholesterol while improving HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
  • Warm water is great for achy joints – The higher temperature helps soothe problem areas during your workout, making it a great choice for water aerobics exercises.
  • Cold water is great for controlling blood pressure – While you swim, your body inevitably starts to heat up as energy is transferred to your muscles. A cold pool will help keep your blood pressure from escalating too quickly.

Achy joints and sore muscles don’t have to keep you away from exercise as you age. With a slow, methodical approach and some care, swimming can positively impact your health in a number of ways. As with any workout routine that’s new, be sure to consult a medical professional before trying swimming for exercise. Your health needs may differ from others, requiring certain precautions or changes to the way you swim. How do you like to use swimming to stay healthy? Share with us in the comments below!

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