at home workouts

Heart smart: Swimming for cardiovascular health

You gotta have heart. After all, it is one of your most vital organs. The heart pumps blood throughout your body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to your cells. But when it’s not working its best, it can affect your ability to live your best life. 

More than 82 million Americans have one form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States — with one person dying every 34 seconds from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But in many cases, people can reduce their risk of heart disease through lifestyle changes and regular physical activity.

An exercise routine can help you strengthen your heart and improve your overall cardiovascular function. Plus, it has a positive impact on other aspects of heart health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight management. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. 

As you focus on your heart health it’s important to find an exercise that you enjoy and can do consistently. Swimming is one of the most effective and enjoyable forms of exercise for improving heart health. It’s a low-impact activity that works the entire body while putting minimal stress on the joints, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

heart health

Heart health in the United States

February is American Heart Month, and it’s an opportunity to encourage people to be proactive about their heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America, affecting both men and women of all ages and backgrounds.

About 695,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, which includes a range of conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, and arrhythmias. 

Many of the leading risk factors for heart disease are related to lifestyle — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, diet, and physical activity. But the good news is that you can adopt healthy habits to fight back against heart disease. 

“Heart disease is 90 percent treatable – everyone can prevent heart disease anywhere in the world, especially by eating foods that are low in salt and cholesterol, exercising regularly, and not smoking,” said Leslie Cho, M.D., Section Head for Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. “Even if a person has a family history of heart disease, we can still prevent and treat heart disease thanks to incredible advances in medicine.”

Adopt a heart-healthy diet 

Research has found that people who follow a mostly healthy diet can reduce their risk of heart disease by up to 21 percent. In fact, a 2020 study that examined four different  healthy eating patterns found that the eating patterns were similarly effective at promoting heart health. 

In general, it’s important to focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Foods that are high in sodium and sugar can negatively impact your heart health.

Incorporate regular exercise

In a study conducted in 2013, researchers found that increased levels of physical activity correlated with a 21 percent decrease in coronary heart disease (CHD) events among men and a 29 percent decrease in CHD events among women.

The recommendation from the American Heart Association is to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. You can do anything that gets your heart rate up — whether it’s walking, dancing, riding a bike, or swimming in a swim spa. 

Quit smoking

Smoking does more than affect your lungs. It can raise your triglycerides, lower your good cholesterol, make your blood more likely to clot, and damage the cells that line your blood vessels among other physiological changes. All of those changes can increase your risk of heart disease.

Secondhand smoke is also dangerous, leading to nearly 34,000 deaths from coronary heart disease each year in the United States.

As you focus on your heart health, seek support to quit smoking. Counseling, peer groups, and medications can help you stop and improve your heart health.

swimming heart health

Benefits of swimming for heart health

The best kind of exercise you can do for your heart is often the form of movement that you can do consistently. Walking is commonly recommended as one of the best options because of its accessibility, low impact nature, and there’s no need for special equipment. 

However, there are other forms of exercise that are just as good for heart health — if not better.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that engages the entire body, making it an ideal choice for those looking to improve their heart health.

Improve your fitness 

Swimming gets your heart pumping, increasing your heart rate and improving cardiovascular endurance. Regular swimming sessions strengthen your heart muscles, making them more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body. Increased blood flow reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Lowers blood pressure

About 122 million people — nearly half of Americans older than age 20 — have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

But a consistent swimming routine has been shown to help lower blood pressure. When you are swimming, or even just exercising in the water, the buoyancy reduces the strain on your joints and blood vessels. According to one study, systolic blood pressure dropped significantly in participants who were swimming. In addition, their resting heart rate decreased by about 10 beats per minute.

Weight management

Swimming is a total body workout. You have to engage your upper body, core, and lower body as you move through the water. And because you are using so many muscles, you can get your heart rate and increase your metabolic rate. A regular swimming routine can be a great way to burn calories. It can be a part of a holistic effort to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Swimming offers a distinct advantage over other exercises like walking or jogging due to its low-impact nature. This quality makes swimming particularly beneficial for individuals who are out-of-shape, aging, or susceptible to discomfort in specific areas of their body, such as joints or the back.

Stress reduction

Stress is a known contributor to heart disease. Regular swimming sessions can help reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins, also known as the “feel-good” hormones. The rhythmic movement in the water combined with the serene environment of swimming promotes relaxation and mental well-being.

In a survey of nearly 1,200 swimmers, 74 percent of participants said that swimming helped them release stress and tension. In addition, 70 percent said that swimming helped them feel mentally refreshed. 

swimming heart health

Make swimming a part of your routine with a Michael Phelps swim spa

While swimming is undeniably beneficial for heart health, it isn’t always easy to fit in a water workout. The closest pool might be a 30-minute drive, the lap swimming times might not fit your schedule, or you don’t enjoy swimming when the pool is always crowded.

A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa swim spa offers all the advantages of a traditional swimming pool, with the added perk of being conveniently located in your own backyard. A swim spa allows you to incorporate swimming into your workout routine or start an exercise journey — improving your heart health at the same time.

Convenience and accessibility

With a swim spa, there’s no need to travel to a public pool or a beach. It’s right there, just steps from your backdoor. Having a swim spa at home makes it easier than ever to incorporate swimming into your routine, ensuring consistency in your exercise regimen.

swim spa stretching routine

Year-round swimming

Unlike outdoor pools that are limited to warm seasons, swim spas can be used all year round. Michael Phelps swims spas have a built-in heating system and insulation, which allows you to use your swim spa without any seasonal restrictions. 

Customizable workout

A swim spa allows you to personalize your swimming routine to your preferred pace and intensity. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced swimmer, you can adjust the speed of the swim current to fit your fitness level. This makes it an excellent option for those recovering from injuries or individuals with varying fitness needs within the same household.

Relaxation and recovery

Aside from being a way to swim and exercise at home, a swim spa also serves as a place to prioritize relaxation. After an invigorating swim, you can take advantage of the swim spa’s hydrotherapy jets, which offer massage-like benefits. Hydrotherapy promotes muscle recovery, reduces inflammation, and offers overall relaxation — an excellent way to soothe your heart and mind.

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How to buy a Michael Phelps swim spa

Are you ready to invest in one of these top swim spas for 2024? A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa is an all-season pool alternative that you can use not just this year but for many years to come. You can click here to learn about how you create a backyard oasis with a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a Michael Phelps swim spa costs? You can request a quote here