From running to cycling, yoga to CrossFit, there are so many ways to get in your daily 30 minutes of exercise. Each has its own pros and can help improve your overall health. However, if you had to create a list ranking the best ways to exercise, there is one workout that almost always tops the list — swimming.
While swimming can often seem like a recreational activity, it is actually an incredibly effective and enjoyable form of exercise. Not only does it provide a full-body workout but it is low impact and easy on the joints.
So … is swimming good exercise? Absolutely. In fact, it’s a great workout option, whether you are aiming to get fit, lose weight, or add variety to your routine.
Benefits of swimming as exercise
Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in your overall health. Most healthy adults should aim to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
But how you get in those 150 minutes is up to you. You can go for a walk, play softball on a rec league team, or even head to the links and get in a round of golf.
Swimming, though, is one of the most popular ways to exercise. In fact, swimming is the fourth most popular sport in the United States.
The popularity of swimming is not because it’s fun — although it is. Swimming provides myriad benefits, helping you to improve your physical and mental health without added stress.
In water, you will feel lighter than you do on land because water’s buoyancy reduces the force of gravity. The deeper the water, the more noticeable the effects of buoyancy. In fact, the stress on your body can be reduced by up to 90 percent.
With less stress on your joints, swimming is an ideal form of exercise for people who might have joint pain or mobility issues. Or, for athletes who want an effective form of cross training.
But low impact does not mean swimming is a less effective workout. Swimming is actually a full-body workout that uses muscles in the arms, legs, core, and back.
One of the benefits of working out is the chance to improve your cardiovascular endurance — the measure of the heart and blood vessels’ abilities to get through an exercise session. When you are fit, or have good endurance, you are better able to do everyday activities such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries.
Yes, there is a way to make climbing steps easier.
Swimming is a fantastic way to get your heart rate and increase your lung capacity. According to a study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, swimming programs lead to significant improvements in cardiovascular endurance. More than that, it can help improve your cardiac health, lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Weight loss and body composition
Many people start an exercise program in the hopes of trying to lose weight or change the way their body looks. In fact, more than 60 percent of people trying to lose weight incorporate exercise.
While research shows that it’s important to take a multi-faceted approach to weight loss, swimming can support your efforts. Swimming can help you burn calories at a steady rate while helping you build lean muscle.
Beyond the physical benefits, swimming can help improve your mental health. Water, by nature, has a soothing effect. Combined with the rhythmic movement, swimming can help quiet your mind. The focus on breath, too, can have a calming effect on the nervous system.
In addition, the sport and an active lifestyle in general can boost your mood, improve self-esteem, promote better sleep and reduce stress.
How to swim for exercise
Swimming isn’t just a leisurely activity reserved for lazy summer days at the pool; it’s also a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy.
Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes into the water or an experienced swimmer looking to optimize your workout, this guide will take you through the essentials of how to swim for exercise.
Before you take the plunge, ensure you have the right gear. A well-fitting swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles are essential. Goggles provide clear vision underwater, while a swim cap helps streamline your movements and protect your hair from chlorine.
Just like any other exercise, it’s crucial to warm up before swimming. Start with gentle stretches on dry land to loosen your muscles. Once you’re in the water, begin with slow, easy laps to gradually increase your heart rate and prepare your body for a more intense workout. Kick sets with a kickboard are also a great way to get the heart pumping and warm up the muscles.
Master the basics
You don’t need to swim all four strokes to swim for exercise. Many people will focus on the freestyle stroke. Also called front crawl, freestyle is the most efficient and versatile swimming stroke. You can swim in a pool, swim spa, or in open water.
If you’re new to swimming, start with the basics of freestyle — head position, breathing, pull, and kick. Swimming drills such as streamline, catch-up, and kick sets can help you learn how your body should move through the water and reinforce good movement patterns. Adult swim lessons or online tutorials can also help you learn the basics so you can swim with good technique and efficiency.
Do you want to learn the other strokes? Mastering front crawl can give you the confidence to try breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. Each stroke targets different muscle groups, providing a well-rounded workout.
Set realistic goals
Whether you’re swimming for fitness or training for a specific event, set realistic goals to track your progress. Start with manageable distances and gradually increase as your endurance improves. Having clear objectives will help keep you motivated and focused during your swim sessions.
Incorporate interval training
To maximize the benefits of swimming, incorporate interval training into your routine. Alternate between periods of high-intensity swimming and lower-intensity recovery laps.
For example, if you are swimming in a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, you can swim for 1 minute at a faster pace followed by 2 minutes at a more moderate pace. Not only does this help your cardiovascular fitness, it helps make the workout go by much more quickly.
Michael Phelps swim spas have a variable speed swim system, which creates an endless current for swimming in place. There are speed settings from zero to 100, and you can swim as fast as 54 seconds per 100 meter pace. This system allows you to dial in your pace but also offers an opportunity to challenge yourself. The range of speed settings, too, allows you to make small adjustments so you can get just the right resistance
Mix up your routine
Monotony can be a motivation killer, so keep things interesting by mixing up your swimming routine. Try different strokes, incorporate different water exercises, or use equipment like kickboards and pull buoys to add variety to your workouts. Variety not only keeps things exciting but also challenges your body in new ways.
Adding swimming to your routine
Swimming is one of the best exercises for achieving fitness and weight loss goals. However, finding regular access to a suitable pool can be challenging. A Michael Phelps swim spa can be an invaluable addition to your wellness routine.
Offering convenience, hydrotherapy features, and year-round use, a Michael Phelps it offers, a swim spa allows you to enjoy the benefits of swimming without any barriers.
Convenience and accessibility
One of the biggest challenges faced by any swimmer is making it to the pool. Whether you live in an area where there’s limited pool access or the hours don’t fit into your schedule, pool access can be a barrier for people who want to swim for exercise.
A Michael Phelps swim spa makes swimming more convenient and accessible. Installed in your backyard, you get 24/7 access to a swim-in-place pool. Plus, you get to skip the hassle of commuting, changing in the locker room, and sharing a lane. Or, maybe worse, showing up and discovering that a swim class has the pool down to two lanes.
Swim spas are not just for exercise. Michael Phelps swim spas also offer a space for relaxation and recovery. Equipped with strategically placed massage jets, swim spas offer a personalized and therapeutic experience to ease muscle soreness after an intense workout or simply provide a sanctuary for stress relief and relaxation. The hydrotherapy jets target specific muscle groups, delivering a soothing and invigorating massage that promotes improved circulation and accelerates the recovery process.
Most outdoor pools have a season. Even your local indoor pool is likely to close for a couple weeks each year for maintenance. A swim spa is designed to be used year-round, in any climate. With the ability to adjust the water temperature, you can enjoy your swim spa on a hot summer day or during the winter. This accessibility ensures that your fitness routine remains uninterrupted, boosting consistency and overall wellness.
How to buy a Michael Phelps swim spa
Are you ready to invest in your exercise and wellness routine? A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa is an all-season pool alternative that you can 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.