I started running in early 2011, and since that time, I’ve completed countless smaller races (10K or less), a full marathon and around a dozen half marathons. October is a huge month for races because the temperature is finally starting to drop, so yesterday I competed in another half marathon. The weather was amazing and I was finally able to shake off those slower summer paces, but my body is really starting to feel it today! The one thing I refuse to do is take off time following a race – mainly because I always seem to be training for another one. So instead of hitting the pavement again today, I am going to stretch out my muscles and work out that soreness with THE BEST exercise for recovery – swimming.
When you exercise underwater, there is little stress on your joints because your body weight is mostly buoyant. This can provide you with full range of movement. This is a great benefit for many people that cannot perform traditional workouts because of knee and back pain such as overweight adults, older adults and those recovering from injury. Swimming is a great choice for patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia and even asthma. It gets the blood flow to muscles and tendons in a manner that is not painful like other traditional exercises. Exercising in water also provides a great workout because the resistance of water is great for both cardio and strength training.
In addition to the other benefits of low impact on joints and a great cardio workout, swimming is also a great stress reliever. Swimming has been seen to improve sleep patterns and promote relaxation. The movement of warm water over the body results in both massage and relaxation. This effect can decrease and eliminate the pain associated with a higher impact workout.
One great benefit is that swimming burns as many calories per hour as a high impact aerobics class! An average 30 minute swimming has been shown to burn as many as 300 calories depending on the intensity of the workout. Not sure how many calories you burn while swimming? Check out the swimming calorie calculator!
So the next time you know that you need to get some exercise but you are concerned about the impact on your body, choose swimming!