You don’t have to be Michael Phelps or Ian Thorpe to reap benefits from swimming. All you need are the basic techniques and a willingness to exercise your entire body.
Just over a year ago I pulled a muscle in my back and the doctor suggested swimming to treat the injury. I bought goggles to protect my eyes and a swim cap to protect my hair from the salt water. Thankfully, I already owned a swim suit, so I did not have to buy one. I spent approximately one hour for each session at the sea and my back felt a lot better.
Benefits of Swimming
I did some research about swimming and I came up with several benefits of swimming:
- It’s an ageless sport – people of all ages can participate
- Your entire body gets a workout
- As little as 30 minutes of swimming can burn up to 200 calories
- It tones your muscles
- Helps you to maintain a healthy heart
- It provides low impact therapy for injuries
- It can be done almost anywhere – e.g. the beach, pools, lakes
- Great way to relax and improve your overall feeling
- It’s a great way to keep cool when outside is hot
- It is a low cost activity – you don’t need any special equipment or special gear
Swimming can be either recreational or competitive, with the popular strokes being the freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. Basic swimming forms the basis for and is a requirement for a wide range of other sports and activities including water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, snorkelling, surfing and the triathlon.
Before you go experimenting in the water, register for swimming lessons with qualified swim instructors. You will be taught the basics including breathing techniques. You are never too old to learn how to swim. If you’re a bit rusty, you can always take a refresher course.
The Better Health Channel lists the following general tips for interested swimmers:
- Make sure you know how to swim
- Choose a safe environment
- Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before entering the water
- Have plenty of fluids on hand and drink regularly
- Don’t overdo if you’re just starting out
- See your doctor if you haven’t exercised in a long time