Summer has officially begun, and along with it, opportunities to participate in characteristically summer activities have opened up as well. Most prominent among these is swimming, a leisurely or rigorous sport considered a staple of this hot and sunny season.
While the activity provides a well needed respite from the overbearing heat brought upon by the unyielding sun, swimming, whether done casually or competitively, bears an assortment of proven health benefits. One of the most alluring facets of the sport is its versatility in its relatively universal accessibility, and likewise, its health benefits can effectually be felt by all age groups and subsets of society.
Unlike out-of-water sports like running, which may be load-bearing and uncomfortable for obese and overweight individuals, swimming cools down the body effectively and allows for more buoyancy than exercises like running, putting less strain on the bodies of those partaking in the activity.
However, while more comfortable, “water is denser than air, so moving through H2O puts more external pressure on your limbs than out-of-water training, studies have shown. Even better, that pressure is uniformly distributed. It doesn’t collect in your knees, hips or the other places that bear most of the burden when you exercise with gravity sitting on your shoulders.” (1)
Swimming seemingly provides a more efficient and effective exercise while simultaneously being more bearable and even enjoyable for those not acclimated to high intensity workouts. This aquatic exercise is also noted to be more gentle on one’s spinal structure and posture as a whole, avoiding the rough vibrations and movements from impacts with the ground in an above water sport, and exercising in a horizontal position may successfully stretch the back, reversing the negative effects from sitting in an upright position for prolonged periods of time.
The benefits from other aerobic sports is also translated to swimming, with the breathing exercises and motions involved improving the health of both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Through all these health benefits, swimming has certainly earned its well-deserved place as the staple activity of summer, and it is likely to remain that way.
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