Visualize an early afternoon on a hot summer day. It’s time for your workout! You put on your workout outfit, get your hair into a ponytail, and then walk out the door to start running while the intense sun keeps beating down on you. Now rewind that scenario and instead, imagine yourself at the nearest pool, cooling off while working out just as much!
Still not sold? Here are five major reasons to consider incorporating some swimming into your summer exercise routine!
1. Full-body Workout
Since swimming activates many muscle groups at once, it’s a great full-body workout. When you swim, practice several different strokes, including breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Each one emphasizes a different muscle group. When you practice each of these types of strokes in one session, you’re working your entire body!
2. Lowered Stress Levels
The aerobic motion of swimming increases blood flow to the brain. The increase in blood flow leads to a process where the brain replaces and restores cells. All this action helps heal your circulatory system.
Aerobic exercises also release endorphins in the brain. These chemicals decrease the body’s stress response, which leaves you feeling happy and content after visiting the pool!
3. Cardio + Strength
If you try swimming this summer, you’ll get both cardio and strength training, since exercising in water creates more resistance for your muscles. Strength training also increases metabolism, which allows your body to burn calories even after your workout.
Pair that with the fact that one hour of swimming burns 500 calories, and you may have a great new summer exercise program to build lean muscle and burn some calories!
4. Improved Flexibility
Swimmers are often more flexible than other athletes, and that’s not a coincidence. Muscles must be warm in order to stretch to their full potential. Luckily, the basic movements associated with swimming naturally stretch your muscles. If you’re able to work out in a heated pool, your muscles will be even more primed for stretching exercises!
5. Low-Impact Exercise
One benefit of swimming is that you’re 90 percent lighter in water, which can majorly affect your body during exercise. Since you don’t have to think about how gravity affects your workout, swimming is perfect if you need low-impact options. It’s especially great for people who have joint pain, individuals recovering from injuries, and even expectant mothers.
Even if none of those apply to you, remember that swimming can be a great form of cross-training. If you aren’t seeing any improvement with your usual routine, consider swimming for a low-impact, but exciting change.
Bonus Benefit: Feel like a mermaid for an hour!
These five points are just a few benefits of introducing swimming into your workout regime. I stopped swimming competitively years ago, but I’m still an avid swimmer to this day. It’s a great way to add some variation to your workouts. So ditch the heat and jump in!