Benefits of Swimming

By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

Why Swim?

There are many great exercises to stay healthy. Among them is swimming. Swimming is a great exercise that works the outside of your body as well as the inside. Just as your muscles are being used, your cardiovascular system is being used as well. It is also beneficial for individuals who are feeling pain, or recovering from injury. The high level of function that it takes to swim means a high number of calories burned, an improvement in sleep, and even an enhanced mood throughout the day.

Swimmer in pool with lights.

Image of Swimmer.

How Long Do You Need To Swim To Get A Good Workout?

The amount of time you should be swimming a day to get a good workout primarily depends on a couple of factors including age and fitness level. You know when you are getting a good workout when your heart rate is high and your lungs are taking in a lot of oxygen. You want to make sure you keep a heart rate that is consistent with the fitness results you are seeking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests working out at a target heart rate between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate during moderate exercise, and 70 to 85 percent during vigorous exercise.

illustration of Competing Swimmer.

Image of Swimmer in Competition.

Can You Lose Weight By Swimming?

It is very common for swimmers to see a loss in weight. Swimming is an aerobic exercise that burns a lot of calories. As opposed to running, where there is constant pressure on your joints, there is no pressure being placed on your joints while swimming. This can be helpful for recovery. The more you swim, the more weight you are able to lose as a result of the high number of calories being burned.

Is It Better To Swim Or Run?

If you had a choice between swimming a mile or running a mile, you would want to choose swimming. Swimming is more of a total body workout than running. While you are using your lower body in both, swimming requires the use of your upper body as well, to propel you forward in the water. Water is the other key to answering this question. There is much more resistance in water than in the air. A consistent resistance level helps maximize the amount of calories that can be burned.

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By: Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

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