If you’ve ever seen an Olympic swimmer compete, you’ll know that their physique is simply amazing. Toned, muscular, strong and lean. But then again, with Olympic runners, especially the sprinters, you can’t really say they look bad! Here however we look at the benefits to be gained from swimming and why you might want to consider swapping the street for the pool. Should you ditch the trainers and look for your local swimming pool? Read on to find out more.
Every time you run, your bodyweight is pounded through your joints and into the surface – be it road or wherever. No amount of cushioned sole can take away from the fact that running is high impact and can lead to problems or injuries. Swimming however is exactly the opposite. Your whole body is supported, and the impact to the joints etc. is therefore minimised. The high impact nature of running is perhaps its biggest downside.
If you run long distance, it’s better to be lean, whereas swimmers are strong, and often big too. That’s because it is a whole body workout, the water provides the resistance for the muscles to work against. This added resistance means that it burns calories quicker than running, hence your training sessions can be shorter and your leisure time longer – bonus!
In addition you get a fuller range of movement in your body and its joints. Your flexibility will improve as will your core strength and stability.
Swimming is as intense as you want it to be, but then again so is running. However in the pool, at least you will not feel the urge to sprint past pedestrians as runners do. There is also the added tranquillity of the water, away from the hustle and bustle that perhaps running on the roads cannot give. Both offer a means of escapism, though it’s probably safer to switch off the mind in the pool rather than on the roads.
If you already exercise regularly, then perhaps you need to incorporate swimming into your regime, rather than replacing an existing element, such as running. Make sure your pool has the right heating equipment for safe winter swimming sessions. Install a inverter swimming pool heat pump or similar water heating devices to keep the water heated. Combined with the running, swimming can give you more rounded results. Plus, although it may be less impactful, you simply may not enjoy it, but you’ll never know until you try!
Exercise is an important element of life, and everybody should find the time to undertake it in one form or another. It probably isn’t right to compare one form of exercise with another, instead individuals should try them all and pick their favourites. That said, if you already run, and then take up swimming, you’re just a bicycle away from being a triathlete, and that’s awesome!