Exercise has always been a part of Ayurvedic routine since ages before it has become a modern fad. Exercises such as swimming, yoga, brisk walking, etc. are becoming popular. These exercises help to get rid of heaviness and stiffness of the body because they help to burn ama or toxins from the body and create more lightness, smoothness, easiness, flexibility, etc.
(Reference: AstangHridyam, Chapter No. 2, Shlok No. 10)
According to this shloka, exercise brings about lightness, improves work capacity, increases digestion power, burns fat, and brings the body in good shape.
Swimming is becoming a popular activity. It is an aquatic sport which is considered as both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. It’s also an activity that burns a lot of calories without causing an impact on the bones and joints. It is a sport suitable for people of all age groups. It is a fun exercise having innumerable health benefits as well.
12 Health Benefits of Swimming
Strengthens the muscles
Swimming is one of the best exercises that strengthen all the muscles in the body.
- Regular swimming helps to make the muscles strong.
- The whole body seems to be toned.
- It engages almost every major muscle group like his arms, torso, legs, and stomach.
- It helps to build slender muscles rather than the bulky ones.
Good for the cardiovascular system
Our muscles get good work out during swimming. Besides this, it makes the heart and lungs strong.
- Swimming may well be the perfect exercise to boost cardiovascular health, as the exercise raises the heart rate to higher than normal levels, which further helps to lower down the blood pressure and good for diabetic people as well.
- This aerobic exercise will help to improve heart health and provides protection against potential cardiovascular disorders.
- Swimming is one of the best exercises for keeping the heart in good condition.
Appropriate exercise for arthritis patients
Swimming is a safe exercise option for the people suffering from arthritis, injury or other health issues that make strenuous exercises difficult.
- It helps in reducing pain in people suffering from osteoarthritis by improving muscle strength.
- Strong muscles can protect and support the joints that are affected by arthritis.
Boosts moods and manages stress
Exercise such as swimming is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Swimming redirects the mind away from troubling thoughts.
- Swimming is also calming and meditative as the sound of breathing and water rushing help to focus the person inward.
- This lowers stress and depression naturally.
Make the kids active
Swimming is an excellent sport to combat obesity in children and to make them active.
- This exercise has all the elements of physical activity to make kids healthy. It provides strength, endurance, and flexibility.
- It also helps to improve memory function in children.
Slows down aging
Regular swimming can delay the effects of aging by increasing muscle mass, reducing blood pressure, improving oxygen and blood flow to the brain, cardiovascular health, etc.
- It can also improve physical strength in aged individuals.
- It is a good exercise for elderly people who suffer from joint pain or osteoarthritis as it helps in increasing flexibility and reduces joint inflammation.
Good for asthma
Swimming is also good for people who suffer from chronic lung disorders or asthma.
- The patients of asthma especially those with exercise-induced asthma(when the muscle bands around the airways as the muscles are sensitive to these changes in temperature and humidity and in the reaction it contracts, which narrows the airway) experience trouble because the loss of moisture in the bronchial tubes causes the tubes to contract. This happens when the air is dry or cold outside.
- Due to this reason, swimming is considered as the best exercise for asthma patients because the moisture from the water replaces the moisture expelled during vigorous breathing.
Helps to attain flexibility
Swimming involves stretching, twisting and pulling the way through the water.
- As a result, ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as one pushes off against the liquid pressure.
- The repetitive stretching in different strokes also helps in providing flexibility in the muscles.
Aids weight loss
Swimming is the best exercise to burn calories.
- The more calories burned, the more fat gets mobilized.
- As it works on the major muscles, helps in toning and making the body slim.
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Builds Bone Strength
Bone mass decreases with age, especially in women.
- Swimming can help in preventing bone loss triggered by age.
- It is also useful for people with joint pain or arthritis.
Improves the body’s circulation
Swimming requires coordination between legs, arms, chest, head, and eyes.
- Therefore, it helps to improve the whole body movement and coordination between the limbs and the core.
Improves sleep quality
Swimming is the best exercise for those who have difficulty in sleeping.
- This is because the whole body including the brain works constantly while swimming.
Thus, swimming is an excellent way to exercise without realizing that you are exercising.
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General Swimming Tips:
- Select a safe environment with lifeguards on duty.
- If you are a beginner then don’t overdo swimming.
- Always keep your body hydrated.
- Before entering into the water, always remember to do warm-up exercises and stretch your joints and muscles.
- It is important to cool down and stretch muscles after a swimming session.