Remember the list of resolutions that you made at the beginning of this year. For most humble beings (like me) loosing that teeny-weeny beginnings of the paunch or toning up that arm which looks more like chicken wings these days, find their way to the top of this list. For some, hitting the gym is a natural answer. But for others (gym-shy-lazy bums) an alternative is a must. WALKING? Yes, why not? Love to pant and sweat like a dog? ugh..NO! Well, EXERCISE AT HOME? Oh! I forgot the “lazy bum” part! Well, then the only way out of this “self-imposed-getting-fat-regime” is by turning into a WATER BABY! You love water? Love the cooling sensation once it hits you? Love to check out those surfboard flat abs (imagine Michael Phelps)? Stops fretting and dive in.
Swimming is the only pleasant way out of this “I-am-getting-fat” turmoil. Don’t trust me? Here’s the complete trivia about the advantages of swimming to keep you fit, flit and flat.
10. Full-fledged work out
If you’ve ever been inside the fitness temple (gym), then you’ll know the pain one is subjected to, all in the name of a whole body workout. Day1-Shoulders and triceps, Day2-Biceps, back and chest, Day3-Cardio, Day4- Legs, and Day5- you are sore, bored and tired yet you are expected to do the whole cycle all over again. If this sounds painful, then swimming is definitely your game. The advantages of swimming is not only fun, but is also a whole body workout. In case, a certain part of the body needs more concentration than the other, then all you’ve to do is use a different stroke technique to keep yourself afloat.
Adding to the fitness benefits, swimming is as effective as pounding away on the treadmill. Equal or more amounts of calories can be burned by using different strokes while swimming.
10 minutes of breaststroke swimming= 60 calories,
Butterfly stroke= a whopping 150 calories,
For perspective, a 10-minute mile burns around 100 calories.
9. Builds up immunity
How would it feel like to be never ever being sick again? Something that saves you the pain of swallowing humongous tablets and vomit-instigating syrups is definitely a plus. Studies suggest that one of the advantages of swimming is it reduces the risk of chronic illness in most people. ASA is a governing body for all things swimming. According to them, the probability of swimmers dying early is 50% less than that of runners, walkers and other activity doers. And as there is no impact with swimming it can be continued life-long. As a matter of fact, the master of fitness, Jack La Lanne, who died in 2011, swam an hour everyday at the age of 93.How cool is that?
8. A swim a day, keeps the doctor away
Yes, I mentioned the better immunity part. But did you know swimming improves cardiovascular and muscular health effectively reducing blood pressure and improving vascular function? Makes your joints more flexible and boosts your capacity to do more physical activities (stamina, you know). And for all you hot-headed individuals, it keeps the heat at bay! Maintains cholesterol, is considered to be best for pregnant woman (under supervision, duh!) and is best for those suffering from back pain and arthritis (no body asked you to plunge into bone-chilling, teeth chattering water).
7. Bye-bye stress
One of the other advantages of swimming is the release of Endorphin a feel-good chemical in the body. It results in a happy and stress-free individual. Further, due to the constant stretching, timely splashing (mantra) and rhythmic breathing it is a meditative exercise of sorts (think yoga in water).This helps in “drowning” every care in the world, improving ones concentration.
6. More with less
We all love that, don’t we? To do more with less. You don’t sweat, you don’t stink, you don’t pant (well, not much), yet you get the results. It is unlike any other aerobic exercise which may wreck havoc in your skeletal system. In fact, your body automatically becomes lighter once immersed in water. When immersed to waist, your body will be 50% than its original weight. In such a manner, most of your body weight is later dealt by the pool as opposed to you dealing (struggling) with it.
5. Will let you retain your sweet tooth
Sounds funny, eh? Laugh all you want, your diabetes infused days are soon approaching. But in case you are looking for a way to beat it-take the plunge. It is claimed that aerobic exercises beats one’s chance of being caught up with diabetes. But did you know this! 30 minutes of breaststroke swimming 3 times a week helps you burn 900 calories, keeping diabetes type 2 at bay. Just three times a week! No regular rigorous workout and you can gorge on your favourite sweet anytime of your life. That’s a sweet swimming advantage. Isn’t it?
4. Building Bone and muscle mass
For most, the desire to attain bone mass is achieved by weight-bearing exercises. While running still tops the list of highest increase in BMD (Bone Mass Density), swimming follows.
Studies state that men who completed an eight-week swimming program experienced a 23.8% increase in triceps muscles
So for those who cringe at the idea of sprinting, swimming is your sport.
The most coveted, the most drool worthy is now easy to attain (fairly easy, that is). Michael Phelps and swimming Guru Terry Laughlin, worked together to put up a step-by-step swimming workout guide which focuses on freestyle strokes. This helps build the core strength, carving out a “V” in the end (a sight for sore eyes * wink*).
2. Beauty Treatment
Every eye pops out of its socket at the sight of the word “beauty”. We all want it, need it and need to know how to get what we need. Isn’t it? (You are lying to yourself otherwise). This is an easy way to keep your skin soft, glowing and rejuvenated. Advantages of Swimming in saltwater is that it regularly guarantees high retention of moisture and detoxification, promoting the growth of new skin cells (bye bye Olay). An invigorating swim in the ocean promises smooth and healthy looking skin.
1. Smarty Pants
I am not fibbing. Researchers in Australia focused on kids who took up swimming lessons compared to a group of non-swimmers. The results:-1) swimmers could master language development easily; 2) they possessed fine motor skills; 3) confidence and physical development came easily to them. In some cases, development of math skills was also noticed. This was credited to the calculations of meters swum in set or interval drills to put their addition and subtraction skills to work.
So after the exhaustive list of advantages of swimming, I don’t think you need any more persuading. But in case you are still in two minds, join the nearest swimming club just to check out the Greek water Gods and Goddesses tanning by the pool side. Tempting isn’t it?