Swimming for fitness can be a great way to lose weight, get in shape, and increase physical strength. Many people enjoy swimming, and find it to be a fun way to exercise and do something a little different. There are many benefits that come from swimming for fitness, but because it is an aerobic activity, cardiovascular benefits are often the first ones mentioned.
Aerobic activities increase the heart rate for a sustained period of time. Swimming for fitness increases the heart rate, which can help boost cardio endurance, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. Aerobic exercise may also improve mood and boost energy levels throughout the day when it is performed as part of a regular exercise routine. It is best to exercise for approximately five days per week for about 30 minutes per session; it is fine to change the type of activities one does for exercise, but aerobic activity is an important aspect of health.
Another benefit to swimming for fitness is that it is a virtually zero-impact activity. This makes it a good choice for people of all ages, and swimming is also often used as part of a rehabilitation program after an injury because it is gentler on the joints and bones. Jogging, for example, is a great aerobic activity for fitness, but is a very high impact activity as well.
Swimming for fitness is also a great activity to build muscular strength. The water creates resistance against every movement; this means that with every push and pull in the water, even when one is just treading water, the resistance is encouraging the muscles to work harder. It is difficult to get this same kind of constant resistance by lifting weights or any other type of strength training activities. In addition to simply using the water for resistance, many people use water weights as well. These are small weights designed to float in the water and to add additional resistance.
There are many ways to use swimming for fitness. Some people choose to just swim laps in the pool, trying to increase their distance or speed over time. Others just spend time in the pool swimming for fun. Aqua aerobics classes are popular, where an instructor will provide direction for various aerobics activities underwater, such as aqua jogging, jumping jacks, and leg lifts, for example. Remember, even though it may not feel necessary, it is important to stay hydrated while exercising in a pool, and to warm up beforehand and cool down with some gentle stretches afterward.