Hi guys! I have a great post coming to you today from Becky again! She is here to share some awesome tips about swimming for health and fitness!
Heart Health Benefits From Swimming
For many years I have been a runner. It was the quickest way to get in an aerobic workout. I would get dressed, put on my running shoes, and I was off. But then my knees started bothering me, and I have had to shift my exercise routine. I have started swimming a couple of days a week to cross train, and it’s great for heart health.
A great cardiovascular workout. When I work out, I’m basically strengthening my heart muscle, by making it work more. But I’ve read that when you are in the water, your resting heart rate is 10 beats per minute lower, and your maximum rate is 10 to 30 minutes lower. No one is sure why that happens, but they speculate it is because of the lowered effect of gravity and the lower temperature of the water. During the workout, that translates to more quickly being able to pump oxygen to my body, so my heart works less than it did when I was running. I like that. Here are some excellent resources with more details:
Lowering the risk of heart disease. With all of the work I do during a swim, I remind myself that I’m reducing my risk of heart disease. Swimming boosts the metabolism, which helps keep my weight lower, and thereby reduces the risk of obesity and heart disease. Several resources suggested that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week lowers the blood pressure, further reducing that heart disease risk. I don’t have a family history of heart problems, but I don’t want to set a family trend and have heart trouble. When I read that over a million people each year have heart attacks, that only strengthened my resolve to keep exercising. Because swimming strengthens my respiratory system, combined with a calming effect, those results both help keep my heart in good shape.
Talk to the doctor. Even though I had run for years, I checked with my doctor before I launched into my new swimming routine. It’s just good practice to make sure I’m in good shape medically, and he said I was fine to start swimming. He reminded me to stay well hydrated, and told me he was glad I was keeping up with my exercise.
Begin with moderation. I’ve been going to the same doctor for years, and he knows how I am, so he suggested moderation when I began swimming. He knows I used to run marathons, so he recommended I not overdo it when I started out in the water. Swimming is super aerobic and great exercise, but if you haven’t done it much, he said it would take time to build my endurance. I saw that the first time I went to the lap lanes at the pool. My running conditioning didn’t translate to the muscles I was using swimming, and I tired quickly.
What do I feel like afterward? It’s simple – after a great swim session, I feel wonderful. I leave the stresses of my work day in the pool. Getting into a good swim rhythm, my mind just lets go of whatever I was worrying about, and since I can’t hear much surrounded by water, I’m in my own little world in the pool. Even though I have to focus to keep up my momentum, there’s a lightness to the water that is very soothing. With all of that going on, I lose track of time, and the workout passes quickly.
Walking out of the gym after a swim, I’m tired, but super relaxed, and feeling wonderful. I plan to continue that experience, and strengthen my heart along the way.
Becky Flanigan writes for AnApplePerDay.com, and her areas of expertise are kids and parenting, exercise and health. She is avid about her workouts, which have ranged from aqua jogging to marathon training. She and her husband Ed also enjoy entertaining, and taking vacations with their 3 kids.