LIVING WELL

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT SWIMMING?

Swimming is a wonderful exercise (that’s obvious). Swimming is a lifetime sport that benefits the body and the whole person! But what is it that makes swimming so good? That question is answered by what you are trying to accomplish.

Why swim? Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It can serve as a cross-training element to your regular workouts. Before a land workout, you can use the pool for a warm-up. Swimming with increasing effort to gradually increase your heart rate and stimulate your muscle activity is easily accomplished in the water. After a land workout, swimming a few laps can help you cool down, move blood though your muscles to help them recover, and help you relax as you glide thought the water.

Swimming does burn calories at a rate of about 3 calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 150 lbs. and it takes you 30 minutes to swim one mile, then you will be using about 900 calories in one hour. However, many swimmers do not swim that quickly, and many cannot swim for that distance or duration.

One thing swimming is not great for is losing a lot of weight. While you do use a lot of calories swimming, once you get out of the pool much of that calorie burning stops. Doing land-based exercises like running or cycling may use about the same amount of calorie per hour as swimming, but once you stop exercising the land-based workout usually leads to continued increase in calorie-use for as long as 18 hours after the workout. Why? Because when you are in the pool you don’t heat up as much as you do on land and your body does not have to work to cool down as much. Swimming does exercise the entire body, heart, lungs, and muscles – with every little joint strain. It is great for general fitness.

Remember The Gym has an indoor, heated pool that is usable year round and we offer many different types of water activities.

Lynn Pass is owner of The Gym in Oneonta. She
holds a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human
Performance from Auburn University and personal
training and aerobic certifications in ACE, AFFA, and
ACSM.