How healthy is swimming: Swimming is a versatile workout. It promotes strength, endurance and coordination. All major muscle groups are used. The buoyancy of the water relieves the joints. Swimming trains basic fitness, you become more resilient and more productive. Find out here how often you should get into the pool for this, what equipment you need and when swimming is good for your back – and when it is more likely to harm it.
How Healthy is Swimming:
Swimming puts up to 90 percent less stress on the joints than sport on land. It works all major muscle groups. The torso, legs and arms get stronger and the condition improves. If you want to increase your fitness by swimming and only want to do something for your health, 30 to 60 minutes twice a week is enough. If you want to promote muscle building and performance through swimming, you have to jump into the pool more often.
Swimming is more than gliding weightlessly. It burns a lot of energy. This is partly due to the water resistance that the muscles have to work against. In addition, the organism has to compensate for the temperature difference between the water and the body. That also costs energy.
A swimmer weighing 60 kilograms burns around 150 kilocalories in 15 minutes, while a swimmer who weighs 95 kilograms burns 220 kilocalories. Water sports are hardly inferior to running (175 kcal / 60 kg; 275 kcal / 95 kg). Losing weight by swimming is possible, but only if you adjust your diet and calorie intake accordingly .
Swimming – The Right Technique
There are four main swimming styles (also called layers):
- Freestyle swimming
Children and other beginners usually learn to swim breaststroke or crawl at the beginning. However, which swimming style is best to start with is controversial.
The sequence of movements in the breaststroke seems very simple at first glance. In fact, however, it is very error-prone. The legs provide the main drive in the chest style. To do this, they are led to the side like a frog and then pushed back vigorously. The arms perform a similar forward movement between kicks.
Beginners and pleasure swimmers often keep their heads above water. Professionals and ambitious people go into hiding with every move. This technique is not only faster but also healthier because it puts less strain on the neck. In this style one also tends to fall into a hollow back. It’s not healthy – especially if you already have back problems.
The swimming technique for the crawl looks completely different from the chest style. The stretched legs perform a kicking movement up and down from the hips. The arms are alternately moved forwards over the surface of the water and backwards again under the water along the body. The breathing technique usually requires a bit of practice in this type of swimming: Competitive and fitness swimmers get air by turning their heads flat to the side out of the water. You exhale under water.
This style puts less strain on your knees and lower back than the breaststroke. The wrong technique, however, damages the shoulders in the long term.
Who is swimming Suitable for?
Swimming is one of the sports with the lowest number of injuries. Only ten percent of the already rare injuries are so severe that a swimming break of more than two weeks is necessary. Swimming is therefore suitable for (almost) everyone.
Swimming has a particularly positive effect on these clinical pictures:
- Back Pain: Swimming is good because moving in the water strengthens the core muscles and relieves tension. However, the right technique is necessary for this, otherwise swimming can even be harmful.
- Orthopedic Problems: the water carries most of the body’s weight. This relieves the affected muscles, tendons and joints. You will be strengthened while swimming without being burdened.
- Asthma: Swimming trains the respiratory muscles. The rhythm of inhaling and exhaling becomes more regular. This form of movement is particularly suitable for asthmatics who start exercising slowly and gradually. Since there is no pollen in the swimming pool and the air is comparatively warm and humid, the airways are less irritated. The opposite effect occurs, however, if the water is heavily chlorinated.
- Low Blood Pressure: Swimming trains the superficial blood vessel system through the hydrostatic pressure in the water and helps against symptoms of low blood pressure.
- Obesity: People with weight problems benefit from swimming in two ways. Losing weight is supported by the calorie consumption with a corresponding change in diet. On the other hand, this form of movement is also suitable as an entry-level sport, even if you are considerably overweight. Because the physical buoyancy in the water reduces the stress caused by weight to around ten percent. Joints, ligaments and bones are therefore hardly stressed.
- Cardiovascular Diseases: Due to the low exposure, swimming is well suited for existing cardiovascular diseases. Those who do endurance training for 45 to 60 minutes about three times a week also prevent cardiovascular problems.
Swimming & Pregnancy:
Even during pregnancy, women can continue to step into the pelvis. However, pregnant women should not train in the performance range. Make sure that your pulse stays in the range that your doctor has determined to be safe. Then swimming during pregnancy is good muscle training. It also helps against the constipation that often occurs.
Even after childbirth or a caesarean section, women benefit from the gentle movement method. However, you should wait until the weekly flow is no longer bloody or the surgical sutures or small injuries have healed.
Swimming – The Equipment:
Swimming trunks, a bathing suit or bikini are sufficient basic equipment for swimming. These should be as flexible as possible so as not to hinder the movements. You should still sit close to your body, otherwise the fabric will act like a brake sail in the water. Bikini tops in particular should be snug so that they don’t slip during movement.
In some bathrooms, a swimming cap made of fabric, latex or silicone is also mandatory. This is also very useful if you don’t want to have your hair on your face all the time. If you put your head under water when swimming, you should get well-fitting, tight swimming goggles. It prevents the chlorine in the water from irritating the eyes.
Aids such as swimming boards, paddles (flat plastic boards that are slipped over the hands and increase the water resistance) or fins are not a must, but useful to bring variety to the training and to set new stimuli.
Swimming – Mistakes To Avoid:
Even if the risk of injury while swimming is lower compared to other sports, there are some typical mistakes to avoid.
- Too Much Effort: Swimming is often associated with extreme overhead movement of the arms. That puts a strain on the shoulder joints. With the chest style, the knee joints are also more stressed by the rotational movement. The load is increased if you do exercises with swimming aids (for too long) that increase resistance, e.g. B. with paddles on your hands or with flippers on your feet.
- Do not Swim With a Cold: You shouldn’t swim with a cold, however. Even if a harmless runny nose shouldn’t have any nasty consequences, one should still be a little more careful. Because the exertion of sport weakens the body even more. The viruses can then more easily migrate from the airways to the rest of the body. In the worst case, the infection can go to the heart. If you have a fever, you should take a break from swimming.
- Unclean Technology: Learning to swim properly is worth it. After all, permanent incorrect stress caused by incorrectly learned movement sequences can cause considerable damage. Such overloads make up the majority of all complaints that arise from swimming. The right technique is therefore essential for long-term fun in the pool.