Make Waves: Swim for Your Health

Make Waves: Swim for Your Health

You really want to exercise. Still, the thought of working up a sweat in cross-trainers isn’t your idea of a good time. Here’s something you might like. In fact, this alternative may be even more effective than running, biking, dancing or lifting weights. Ready to stay fit and cool at the same time?

Put on your swim suit and hop into a local pool.

Swimming delivers so many great benefits. Want to strengthen your core? Check. Burn calories? Check. Manage arthritis pain? Check.

Plus, your body gets a great workout fighting gravity. Your bones and muscles don’t take the pounding they get during other workouts. The buoyancy of your body in water negates the effects of gravity.

For people with arthritis or bad joints, swimming means they can exercise without pain while improving their health. In fact, swimming can help reduce high blood pressure as much as walking or cycling.

Here’s another cool benefit: Water is a coolant. You don’t have to worry about hot temperatures, too much sweating or passing out while you’re doing laps. For people with diabetes, swimming can help them burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Still not convinced? No matter what shape you’re in, when you start swimming laps you work almost every part of your body. Your core, arms, legs, glutes and back will reap the benefits. And you get all these benefits with very little impact on your joints.

Get Started

As always, if you haven’t been exercising be sure to talk with your doctor. Depending on where you live, you can join a local YMCA, YWCA, fitness club or use a community pool. You can also head to a nearby ocean or lake, but be sure you know how to be safe in those locations.

Add Variety

If you think the only activity you can do is laps, think again. Even if you can’t swim just getting in the water offers plenty of benefits. Try water walking. Simply stand chest-deep in the pool and walk forward and backward just as you would on land. If you’d like, you can wear a flotation belt in the deep end of the pool and tread water with your legs while moving your arms through the water.

Water aerobics is another popular activity. It’s basically a form of resistance training in shallow water.

What are you waiting for? Jump in!

Sources: Swimming, leaving site icon Water Aerobics, leaving site icon WebMD, 2022, 2023; Aquatic Exercises, leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2021

Originally published 5/30/2017; Revised 2021, 2023