While it’s no secret that regular exercise is an essential part of healthy living, how we choose to keep active is a very subjective experience. For some, running marathons is a favorite, while for others, maintaining a regular pilates practice feels best. Lucky for us, however, training doesn’t have to be exclusive to one type of exercise. In fact, most athletes feel best when they incorporate a variety of training styles into their regular rotation.
If you haven’t yet tried to cross train with swimming, here are just a few of the reasons why you should.
SWIMMING WORKS A VARIETY OF MUSCLES
Rather than cycling or running which predominantly requires the lower muscles to engage, swimming is a total body workout. Because water is naturally more dense than air, it increases the level of external pressure put on your limbs. While the specificity of the areas you work may vary a bit based on stroke, swimming typically helps to engage a variety of areas in the upper body including the lats, back, shoulders and triceps. By empowering the muscle groups that support the spine, swimmers not only increase the strength of their core, but also improve overall posture and hip function. This is essential for athletes who participate in various forms of dryland cardio, especially running. It is also a great counterposition to those who sit hunched over a desk most of the week. In addition, swimming is known to build strength in the quads, hamstrings and glutes.
SWIMMING ENHANCES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Aside from helping to build strong muscles, regular aquatic workouts are also great for improving cardiovascular health. By encouraging your body to maintain steady movement for a specific length of time, swimming creates an intense level of aerobic exercise. However, unlike other workouts it does so without causing strain to the bones or joints. Longer swims at a moderate or even easy pace are an ideal tool for improving the overall endurance of an athlete. This makes swimming a great way to safely enhance cardio during the off season of another sport.
SWIMMING PROMOTES MUSCLE REGENERATION
By placing less strain on the body, swimming allows for the gentle regeneration of muscles. In this way, it is a great alternative for individuals with injury, chronic pain or osteoarthritis because it is far less painful than traditional weight-bearing exercises. In addition, swimming places very little stress on the body, making it an injury preventing, low impact workout.
SWIMMING IS YEAR ROUND
Depending on where you live and train, getting in a workout can often depend on the weather. However, when it comes to swimming, this is never an issue. With the exception of some easy to enjoy vitamin D indoor pools provide the exact same level of training quality as their outdoor counterparts. Therefore, you never have to worry about missing out on a swim.
Curious to learn more about enhancing the quality of your training? Then be sure to check out Team TYR athlete Michael Chadwick’s favorite pre-workout shake recipe here.