Swimming is a fantastic, refreshing option for a healthy workout. It sure beats going for a jog in the harsh summer or chilly late autumn. But is it a physical activity that's okay to do every day? We've researched the health benefits of swimming to get the answer for you.
After researching the topic, we can assure you that it's safe to have a daily swim. In fact, for some people, it may be the preferred workout option compared to others, which often only work a specific area of the body. Swimming every day gives you a full-body workout that nicely balances the effort your full-body will need to exert.
If you own a pool or live near a body of water, you might be convinced to start swimming more often. Keep reading to see why.
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Is Swimming A Good Way To Lose Weight?
According to the National Health Service (NHS), an adult should aim to get 75 or 150 minutes of intense or moderate aerobic activity a week. Strength training should be among that physical activity. Conveniently, swimming 20 to 30 minutes a day meets these criteria. But it doesn't just stop at meeting weekly average physical activity.
It's a fantastic way to lose a few pounds. When you swim, you're putting your entire body at work. You're also building up your muscles. Because you're swimming in the water, you're forcing your body to work through the increased resistance.
A simple 30-minute swim can burn 300 calories. Keep in mind that number varies due to several factors: your weight, age, body mass index (BMI), and many others. For example, someone who is considered overweight will burn many more calories by swimming than someone with an average weight.
That being said, you'll see results faster than some other physical activities, like jogging. Since you're using more of your muscles, they're burning through more calories, resulting in multiple pounds lost per month (if you're consistent).
The best part is that you don't have to swim like an Olympian to see results. Light strokes from one end of the pool to another back and forth will still do great things for your body.
Just one word of caution: your scale can't tell the difference between fat versus muscle weight. The more your muscles build, the more they weigh. So if you don't see weight loss, you could just be losing fat and gaining muscle density.
Why Do You Weigh More After Swimming?
You might not be aware of this, but there's a good chance you weigh yourself incorrectly. Several factors go into accurately weighing yourself. A few could be the scale itself: whether it's placed on a solid surface or a carpet, or if the scale display is hard to read. Another factor could be on you: finished a meal that's high in sodium or leaves you feeling bloated.
One factor that's responsible for weighing more after swimming is your skin. Many of us weigh ourselves in the morning before starting the day, but not always before a shower. If you weigh yourself after a shower, you won't get an accurate weight measurement.
The same is true for right after a swim. Your skin can absorb around three cups of water when you're in it long enough. Since you've been swimming for probably half an hour, your skin has absorbed that much, if not more, water. That will make the weight listed on the scale inaccurate by a few pounds.
If you want an accurate scaling, weigh yourself BEFORE doing any form of physical activity, including non-swimming activities. Cheat Sheet explains that muscle inflammation and water retention post-workout might result in a higher scale number.
Is Swimming Enough Exercise?
Are you wondering if swimming is enough to gain the body you're aiming for? Well, that depends.
If you're trying to train yourself for some kind of intense activity, like a marathon, swimming will not be enough. As great as swimming is for your body, it only does but so much to build resistance. Plus, you'll want to cross-train in other areas regardless. Too much time invested into swimming can cause swimmer's shoulder. That's when your shoulders become aggravated and overworked from things like bad form, overdoing it, or paddling too hard.
If you're swimming just for the sake of losing fat and calories, then swimming is perfect. You'll be building up your upper body strength as swimming requires more use of your arms than legs, except when kicking. With the full-body being worked out, you'll see a change in your body sooner than by other light exercises like running.
Whichever description fits you best, check out our other article about the length of swimming pools. It'll benefit you to know the many lengths and dimensions to help determine how long or far you want to swim.
How Does Swimming Change Your Body Shape?
One, probably unexpected benefit of swimming is your posture. According to The List, your back posture improves because it's a horizontal workout that doesn't negatively impact your back like other workouts. However, if you have existing back problems, be careful of the swim strokes you make.
Your arms and shoulders become more toned. Certain swim strokes require certain muscles to be used. Those muscles will help make your arms and shoulders built.
Your legs and thighs will get more toned, too. Granted, the results from your legs will depend a lot on how you swim. Not all swimming forms will heavily utilize your legs. But they all do require leg movement, which will still lead to progress. Even your butt will become more firm, thanks to the constant movement of your hips.
When it comes to your stomach, you'll lose belly fat simply because you're burning calories. But if you're specifically targeting your stomach, then swim straight and consistently. If you swim straight and continuously for a set length of time, you'll see your belly fat shedding fast.
How Does Swimming Change Your Health?
Not only does swimming have great physical benefits, but it benefits your overall health in other ways as well.
- Stress relief: a light swim every so often can help you sleep better at night and drop your stress and/or anxiety levels.
- Reduces the chances of diseases: because this is a cardiovascular exercise, your body will have a better chance of resisting heart disease.
- Increased stamina: that metabolism boost will keep you from feeling sleepy all the time.
- Free from sweat: since you're in the water the whole time, you won't have to deal with getting sweaty as you would from other workouts.
- Pregnancy-safe: according to Medical News Today, swimming can support the added weight of pregnancy and avoid the joint pains that come with it.
- Helps those with asthma: the increased lung capacity will help improve asthma symptoms.
If you want to switch up your daily workout routine, swimming every day is a great option. It feels refreshing, it works out your entire body instead of specific areas, and you feel great afterward.
Plus, all that swimming will prepare you to take on other fun water sports like surfing. If you're thinking about doing that, check out our article on learning how to surf. Just make sure you got the hang of swimming first.