December 3, 2022
Swimmers racing in pool

We’ve put together why it’s good for your body not just to splash around on the beach, but to swim regularly – and properly.

It soothes, relaxes and refreshes. Maybe that’s what we first perceive it to be, but in the long term, swimming has many benefits for our physical and mental health. We’ve put together some compelling reasons why you should swim regularly. 

It works almost every muscle

When you swim, you propel yourself forward with your arms and legs, while using your core muscles to keep you stable, which is helped by tight abs, hips, thighs and back. Since water is denser than air, every kicking, pushing and pulling movement is like a mini-resistance for the whole body – especially the arms, shoulders, hips and buttocks. Interestingly, while swimming gives the body a good workout, it’s also gentle on the body: because water neutralises gravity, you become almost weightless when submerged, which is why moving in water is easy on the joints.

It is gentle on the joints.

The water takes the weight of gravity off your joints, so all parts of your body can relax and move weightlessly. The joint ranges are then expanded and the weightless movement does not strain the muscle fibres. But it is important to have the right posture, to dare to put your head in the water – instead of lifting it up high. Water can only work its beneficial effects on parts of the body if we are in it. 

Develops the respiratory system

Experienced swimmers say that even if you’re experienced in any other sport, the breathing technique of swimming can challenge you. The thing that makes swimming different from any other sport is breath control, because in the water you don’t breathe when you want to. You have to hold your breath in your lungs until the right moment, so this technique forces your lung muscles to work extremely hard. 

And endurance

If you think that running and aerobics are the only way to lose weight effectively, you’re wrong, as you can burn between 500 and 700 calories an hour, depending on the intensity, with a variety of swimming exercises – while also giving your endurance a good workout. 

Improves posture

Your tendons, muscles and joints can relax and take a break, improving circulation. Tension in parts of the body is reduced, constraints are released and, as the body is allowed to take its natural proportioned shape, tones are balanced. It is not by chance that swimming is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of musculoskeletal disorders or to correct those that have already developed.

Reduces stress

Modern civilised man is always on the go and tends to overload himself mentally, so he rarely has the chance to really relax. However, you don’t have to worry about hunting for prey or chopping wood, because a phone call can conjure up a meal and heat up your home with the touch of a button. This mentally stressful and physically demanding lifestyle makes him use his body disproportionately, so it’s no wonder he gets stressed. Fortunately, just like other forms of exercise, swimming helps to relieve built-up stress.

Swimming also allows the mind to relax and unwind. Many swimmers, who are very focused on the task at hand, cannot relax their minds enough to achieve this relaxed state. But of course this is also a matter of practice. If you can let go of your preconceptions about yourself, you will soon experience the joy of swimming.

Good for the heart

It has already been mentioned that swimming is the time of greatest ongoing oxygen deficiency, which means that the heart and blood vessels need to deliver more oxygen and energy to the skeletal muscles. On the one hand, the myocardium is strengthened and on the other hand, the capillary network of the myocardium is developed to allow the heart to supply its own blood more efficiently. 

…it also rejuvenates!

Researchers at Indiana University studied men and women who swim competitively and compared some of their parameters (blood pressure, cholesterol, muscle mass, strength, etc.) with those of the average person. The results showed that regular swimming not only added years to their lives, but also decades to the lives of some people. OK, not everyone exercises at the same intensity as they do, but experts say that swimming in small amounts is beneficial – especially if you don’t lead a very active lifestyle.