The Health Benefits of Swimming on a Regular Basis
Let’s get one thing clear. Most Americans do not have access to a swimming pool. I know that you probably have heard that the typical description of a suburban home is that there’s a nice home up front with a nice lawn and then at the back, there is a swimming pool.
Well this does not apply across the board. Not all American homes in all 50 states have a swimming pool. This is why a lot of people are kinda clueless regarding the health benefits of swimming because they don’t have access to facilities that would enable them to engage in that activity. Simple enough.
But the good news is in any area of the United States, there is at least a public swimming pool or at least you know somebody who has a pool in the back. The great thing about swimming for health reasons is that you don’t have to do it every single day.
It would be nice. The would be the optimal situation. But even if you are able to manage to get around to do it maybe 2 or 3 times a week, that is good enough. Still, there are many health benefits of swimming on a regular basis.
The key here is regularity. Whether you swim once a week or 3 times a week. It doesn’t really matter. What matters most is that you are able to do it week after week after week. It’s all about consistency, constancy and regularity.
Here are just some of the health benefits that you get when you swim consistently.
Overall muscle tone
When you swim, you’re actually working out your whole body. Compare that with running. When you’re running, the only part of your body that you’re working out are your lungs and your joints. In particular, your knee joints and upper and lower legs.
Everything else takes a back seat. Everything else basically goes on auto-pilot and doesn’t really go much through a challenge. You’re just working out a relatively small portion of your overall physique. Also, when you stop running, the workout ends.
When you swim, you put a lot of pressure on all of your body. From the tips of your fingers all the way to the back of your neck, to your back, to your shoulders, your arms, your torso, your lungs, your legs, your feet and everything else.
In other words, you exercise the whole package. Since swimming is low impact because you’re in the water, it’s kind of deceptive. It seems like you’re not really exerting yourself. It seems like you’re not really putting yourself through much of anything.
But don’t let your initial sensations get the better of you. There’s actually a lot going on than you realize. The main thing that happens is that you build up your stamina and you’re able to swim for far longer distances and at more intense levels.
This leads to a longer term effect as far as your workouts go. As I’ve mentioned earlier, when you go running, your calorie burn rate basically just drops off a cliff. In fact in many cases, it just goes back to your normal passive calorie burn rate a few hours after you workout.
This is not necessarily the case with swimming. Depending on how intense your swim was, you can burn calories pretty much throughout the day because of the muscle tissue repair needed by your body. In other words, when you were swimming, you’re actually making millions of microscopic tears in your muscle mass.
These microscopic tears, of course, requires calories to patch up and heal. Where do you think those calories are going to come from. That’s right. It’s going to come from the sugar in you blood stream and once that is depleted, it will come from the fat that’s been processed into burnable energy by your liver.
Your body starts to secrete or let out fat that is stored in your thighs, your butt, your gut, the back of your neck or even your face and starts to use that as energy. Isn’t that a great thing?
If you want to look better, if you want to look more toned, if you want to look healthier, swimming is the way to go and the best part to all of this is you work out while you’re in the water, you’re also getting a nice passive workout when you’re out of the water.
It builds your stamina
The great thing about swimming is that it’s low impact. When you’re in the water and you’re just pushing and pulling forward, it doesn’t feel like an ordeal. It’s nice and smooth. There’s a certain rhythm to it. It takes your mind from the actual physical struggle that you’re going through. The fact that you have to go forward, otherwise you drown, diverts your mind from the fact that your body is going through a lot.
When you do this, it starts to develop a mental habit. Let’s face it. If it’s very easy for you to detect any kind of discomfort or pain, your first likely response is a fight or flight. Either you’re going to make it through and push it through no matter the odds or you’re just going to cut your losses and turn the other way and stop.
That’s the normal human response, which is not much different from the response of basic animals. Well, when you’re in the water, a lot of that is masked. You don’t necessarily have to get into that mental state. It just feels like you’re in a flow. So you just keep going and you’re able to do more and last longer than you would otherwise.
And a lot of this is really all about mental redirection. The end result is you develop stamina. This is a big deal because stamina is crucial for anything you do in life. I’m not just talking about physical activities. I’m not just talking about running a 10 mile race. I’m not just talking about getting on your bike and putting in a hundred miles.
I’m talking, also, about your relationships. There are a lot of people out there that are toxic. There are a lot of people out there that bring out the worst in you. There are a lot of people out there that you would like to tell off or say stuff off your chest to.
But if you want to preserve the relationship or, better yet, take it to the next level, you have to hold your tongue. That requires stamina. You should be able to take it and take it and take it. Sometimes, these people don’t know how to stop.
That also requires a tremendous amount of discipline. When you exercise to develop stamina, you benefit all across the board. Not only do you become a better athlete or you burn more calories. You also become a more patient person.
There are many situations in our lives that basically take it out of us. Maybe we’re stuck at our jobs. Maybe we’re not all that happy with the choices that we’ve made in the past. Maybe there are certain painful memories that we’re trying to get over. These require stamina. These require discipline.
When you engage in one part of your life that builds up these traits, don’t be surprised if you can carry them over to other areas. If anything, building stamina while swimming regularly can help you put up with a lot more of the challenges that life gives.
Make no mistake about it. The challenges that life gives us are actually opportunities. I know it sounds crazy. Who wants to be in a tough situation? Who wants to be in a rough relationship? Who wants to be in a job they hate? Who wants to be passed over for promotion? Who wants to have a failing business? Who wants to grow up without a father or a mother?
Who wants any of that drama? But when you look at these challenges, they really are invitations for you to become a different person. You always have 2 choices. You can remain the same person now and guess what will happen. You will be given yet another opportunity to learn the lesson that you need to learn.
And if you forgo that opportunity, guess what happens. That’s right. You get to go through that lesson again and again and again. Sadly, too many of us are stuck in a particular lesson chapter. We just can’t seem to get past that.
Now, you can also go the other way. You can say to yourself, “Well this is an opportunity. I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m not going to let this setback define me. I may have screwed up in the past. I may have made bad decisions. But those don’t have to define me. So I’m going to do something else. I’m going to become something else.”
That’s ultimately the kind of decision that will revolutionize your life. Guess what it needs? Guess what’s required to make that happen? That’s right. Stamina.
So get in that water and put in a few laps. You’d be surprised where you end up as far as your life is concerned.