Swimming is one exercise that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. From infants to the elderly, being in the water offers a variety of therapeutic benefits. Even people who have a debilitating illness that makes movement difficult can benefit from a short period of exercise in the pool. Regular aquatic exercise is extremely beneficial for the heart and circulatory system and can also strengthen other muscle groups within the body.
Reduces the Effects of Gravity
On land, gravity can make it difficult to perform many different kinds of exercise, especially if a person is hindered by limited mobility or excess weight. Pool experts agree that water reduces the affect gravity has on the body and creates a weightless environment to exercise in. A person who is moving in the water, no longer has to fight gravity. Instead, the only thing offering resistance is the water itself. Â Exercise, water aerobics and playing pool games are some of the best ways to reduce the effects of gravity.
Being in a weightless state offers the body the ability to move freely. For individuals with disabilities, this freedom of movement provides them the means to exercise in ways there body will permit. Muscle groups are used that normally are not targeted during other types of exercise. Because more muscles are used and there is less gravity to pull on the body, the joints are allowed to move without being stressed.
Burns an Abundance of Calories
Aquatic exercise involves the entire body. Even if one part of the body is not being used, the water surrounding it is pushing it along, providing a modest amount of resistance. If a person is exercising slowly and steadily, they can burn as many as 500 calories per hour. An individual who is exercising vigorously can burn as many as 700 calories in an hour. The main point to be taken from this is that, movement in the water uses all parts of the body in a way exercise on land does not.
Aerobics and other cardio exercises performed outside of the pool only work specific parts of the body. In the water, the entire body receives benefit. The water creates resistance equal to the amount of force used to move the body through it. If a person moves forcefully through the water, the water resists that movement with the same amount of force, burning more calories and increasing muscle strength. Physical endurance is also increased.
Improves Range of Motion and Flexibility
In the weightless environment water provides, joints are able to move without the stress of the body’s mass forcing them to move in ways that are uncomfortable. Moving the body through the water, strengthens the muscles without stressing the joints. For individuals with arthritis or other forms of joint and bone disease, swimming is the most beneficial way to exercise. If a condition has progressed to the point where range of motion is limited, exercising in the pool can gradually reverse a portion of the damage.
The more a person swims or exercises in the water, the more range of motion they can achieve. Increasing flexibility is vitally important as a person ages. Many people limit their activity because exercise is painful. Given the opportunity to exercise in a swimming pool offers them a chance to improve their mobility with little to no pain. With regular exercise, they can regain their strength, improve their range of motion and reduce pain and swelling in various parts of the body caused by chronic illness.
With all of the physical benefits swimming has to offer, there are other benefits as well. The soothing feel of the water as a person floats or gently glides across the surface is extremely relaxing. Swimming provides health benefits on a holistic. Every part of the body, mind and spirit can benefits from regular aquatic exercise.