2016 was a fantastic year for swimming in Singapore as Joseph Schooling clinched gold for our nation. That remarkable feat has spawned enthusiastic parents all over our little island as they clamor to send their potential little prodigies for swimming classes. Besides that glimmer of hope that there will be another Joseph Schooling in the making, there are many benefits of swimming that you need to know about to get you inspired to take up this exercise yourself. Read on to learn how swimming improves our mental health and physique no matter which level of proficiency you are at.
- Burn calories more effectively
Just half an hour of light swimming will burn 200 calories which is equivalent to a bag of potato chips and more than double the calories that jogging at the same period of time will burn. In our tropical climate, a swim also definitely beats a jog as we can get an effective workout sans the sweatiness and stickiness.
- Improve your breathing
Studies have proven that swimming alleviates symptoms of asthma and increases lung capacity; swimming generally strengthens the lungs and improves your breathing techniques. This increase in lung capacity and stamina is advantageous for when you attempt other physical activities such as weightlifting and jogging. Another breathing technique that you will learn after a few swimming sessions is that you will be able to take in more oxygen with each inhalation and expel more carbon dioxide with each breath.
- Tones muscles
As water is many times as dense as air, it takes a lot more muscle strength to move in water than it does on land. Because of this increase in effort required against the resistance of water, your body will get an overall workout and your muscles will be toned more so than when you work out normally in a gym.
- Full body workout
While swimming, your body is fully worked out from your neck to your arms to your core to your hamstrings and calves, providing an all-round workout from top to bottom. You can effectively have a full body workout in the waters without breaking a sweat!
- Suitable for everyone
From pregnant women, the elderly, injured and obese, swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy. The body is supported by water when you swim and this limits the intensity at which you swim which will in turn minimize the possibility of injury. Swimming is also a low impact exercise which makes it perfect for anyone and everyone.
- Improves flexibility
In order to move underwater, the body must mimic the movements of aquatic creatures and cut through the density of water. To do this, many of the movements that make moving underwater effective involve stretching, twisting and flexing, all of which improve flexibility tremendously.
- Decreases stress levels
Being underwater blocks out all atmospheric noise and all you can hear is a soothing and calming buzz that is beneficial to relaxing the mind. When you are in this state, you can concentrate on your breathing and cast all other thoughts aside for the time being. Studies have shown that swimming induces the same meditative state as yoga and the combination of controlled breathing with the stretching of muscles in the limbs elevate this sensation even more.
Pop into your nearest sports store to pick up a pair of goggles and swimsuit now! But before you head down to the swimming pool, let us find that perfect swimming instructor for you. You will soon be well on your way to being a streamlined mermaid/merman in the waters.