by Nicole Wilkes
Photography courtesy of Fabrizio Fogliani on Creative Commons on Flickr
Swimming is one of the most complete full-body workouts out there—it works more muscles than any other form of cardio and burns the most calories, too. The water provides considerable resistance as you try to get from one end of the pool to the other, so all of those muscles are not only engaged, they’re working overtime.
If you spend the majority of your day sitting hunched over at a desk, swimming can be easier on your back than other forms of cardiovascular exercise. Because swimming is performed horizontally, it strengthens the back without any potentially painful impact (which some with back pain experience while running).
As a result of the humid air that surrounds indoor pools, swimming is the perfect form of cardio for those with asthma. It is also perfect for anyone with arthritis or joint pain because of the cooling quality of the water and lack of impact.
Always be aware of your body while in a pool. If something doesn’t feel right, take a second to exit the pool and examine the issue. With that, be sure to always swim with either a life guard on duty or a skilled buddy.
If you aren’t confident in your form or skill level, taking a couple of age-appropriate swim classes can and help you relax, feel safer and get more out of your workout.
Even if you are confident in your skill level, don’t push yourself too hard too early. Always take a workout or two to just get a feel for the particular form of exercise without straining yourself too much.
Finally, those who swim multiple times a week should be sure to mix up the strokes they practice in order to avoid developing tendonitis from the repetitive motions.