Few exercises boast total body benefits in the same way as swimming. Swimming is one of the best-rounded exercises. Whatever your fitness goals, this aquatic activity can help:
- Build muscles and fortify joints;
- Shred excess weight and tone your body;
- Improve aerobic endurance and flexibility.
According to Harvard Health Publications, just 30 minutes of swimming can burn several hundred calories. For this reason, it’s excellent for improving blood pressure, circulation and lung function. Because of water’s buoyancy, it is also low-impact and suitable for rehabilitating injuries.
Muscle Groups Affected by Swimming
Different swimming strokes recruit different muscle groups in the body. For this reason, as you might in a weight-training routine, you should vary the strokes you practice and seek adequate rest. Doing so will overcome muscular imbalances and reap all the aforesaid benefits. For reference, consider what the popular strokes below do to your body.
- The Front Crawl requires rapid movement of the arms, activating the body’s fast-twitch muscle fibres for noticeable gains in speed and power.
- The Backstroke uses a flutter kick, which heavily involves the quadriceps and hamstrings, but not the calves. That said, almost all torso muscles and stabilizers work to propel the body forward in this stroke.
- The Breaststroke requires the head to lift above the water, which demands greater leg and arm power. The sweeping action of the breaststroke activates most major and minor muscle groups in the body.
- The Butterfly stroke consumes the most energy, fatiguing the torso and hips more than most other strokes. As your chest lifts upward, the shoulders and arms must retract towards the hips. The descent back into water involves both the abdominals and back. The repetition of these movements makes it one of the more exaggerated swim forms.