Swimming is an easy, low-intensity way to tone up and to manage your weight says Ceri Hannan, National Product Development Manager at Virgin Active South Africa.
He says that “a session in the pool is as beneficial to mental wellbeing as it is to physical fitness and everyone should consider including a 30-minute swim in their exercise routines”. Hannan says there are five clear benefits to be gained from time in the pool.
#1 Decrease stress
Studies have shown that being submerged in water gives the body and mind a sense of calm by limiting the amount of sensory information we’re usually bombarded with.
#2 Burn more fat
A 30-minute swim burns more calories than walking, running or cycling, making it the most effective low-intensity cardio you can do.
#3 Boost your lungs
Swimming forces you to take in more oxygen when you come up for air and then to release more carbon dioxide. This means, even when you’re out of the pool, your overall tidal volume – the amount of air your lungs can take in during relaxed breathing – is higher. This also lowers blood pressure and your resting heart rate.
#4 Work different muscles
The movements required to swim are different to those involved in sitting, cycling or running. Pool exercise works muscles in your arms and shoulders that are usually ignored. It engages your core and lower-back muscles as well because your body is constantly working to stay level in the water.
#5 Set your own pace
You can swim at any age or fitness level with a pace and stroke that suits you best. This makes swimming especially useful when you’re recovering from some types of injuries.
Find your nearest Virgin Active health club with either an indoor lap pool or both a lap pool and a recreational pool for the kids at www.virginactive.co.za