The treadmill, elliptical machine or the static bike are all good for cardio, but if you want to break the monotony and change things up, you should try swimming for cardio. Swimming is a great whole body exercise that works upper and lower body muscles almost equally. And because the resistance of water is roughly 12 times the resistance of air, you also get a type of muscle building workout, not just a cardiovascular workout.
There are many reasons to incorporate swimming into your fitness plan. Here are some benefits of swimming:
A cardiovascular workout
Swimming is a great cardio workout. Swimming for a period of time is far more intense than running for the same length of time. Because you use both upper and lower body to move yourself through the water (more muscle is used) – you burn more calories than with jogging, running or statical bike where upper body muscles are almost not used.
A great strength workout
Because water has much greater density and resistance than air, you will get a great resistance workout as well. Prepare for some serious soreness after the first swimming workout. In order to move trough the water you move your muscles differently than when you lit weights. This movement builds muscle mass in the shoulder girdle and upper back.
A low impact cardio exercise
Unlike running and lifting weights where your bones and joints are under constant pressure, swimming is a low impact cardio exercise which doesn’t cause stress to your bones and joints. Water’s floatability supports your body-weight, allowing smooth body movements. This benefit may not seem as something special when you’re young, but as you get older, reducing the impact on your joints means a lot to your overall health.
A great exercise for overweight people
Not everybody is able to start running or walking to lose weight. Overweight people especially have this problem. For them It’s much easier to do some cardio in water than on a hard surface because, like we mentioned, water supports your body weight.
A great exercise for those coming back from an injury
All the listed benefits make swimming a perfect exercise for those who suffered an injury and are getting back in shape. This is great news for those who are heavily involved in sports, as one of the biggest concerns regarding injuries is the time it takes to rehabilitate and get back into shape.
How to start swimming?
If you are going to swim just for general fitness and cardio you can do 3 – 30-45 minute workouts a week. If you are out of shape you can start by swimming 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the time.
If you want to get in great shape, you can do 2-3 30-45 minute swimming workouts and add 2 weight lifting workouts – either full body or upper-lower split.
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With the summer in front of us, it’s a good idea to switch your regular cardio exercise with swimming. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.