Why swimming is the best cardio exercise

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Swimming truly is the best cardio exercise for building a great figure. The activity burns a significant amount of calories, making it a great fat burner: doing the freestyle or butterfly stroke burns 300 and 450 caloriesrespectively.  Not only does the activity help with weight loss, but it also aids in maintaining and strengthening muscles. It works every single muscle across your body from your arms to your back to your legs, and the fact that water is far more resistant than air allows you to make significant gains quickly. If you want to concentrate on a particular part of the body, there are a variety of easy-to-use equipment to help you in your goal. For instance, for building up the legs and core, you can use a kickboard. If you want to help get ripped chest and arms, you can put a pull buoy between your legs to isolate those muscles. If you are bored with just your body weight, you can try adding some weights to your routine — like adding light weights to your ankles— to spice it up.

Critics of swimming point out that other cardio exercises are much better at fat loss than swimming. Running, for instance, burns far more calories on average than swimming, cycling or downhill skiing. Although running and some other cardio activities may offer better fat burning results, they neglect the muscle-building component that is critical to a balanced workout with both strength and cardiovascular benefits. Long-distance running actually hurts strength gains because it shrinks muscle fibers. Although other versions of running, particularly sprinting, can lead to good muscle gains, they lack the whole body benefits of swimming because they just concentrate on the lower body predominantly.

The other big benefit of swimming is it is a fairly comfortable exercise to do. Because the water temperature is generally kept around 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, your body is working out in perfect temperature that is neither too hot or too cold: you won’t be sweating or shivering to death. In the case of other cardio activities, on the other hand, it could get really uncomfortable really quickly. Imagine dancing or riding a bike while being covered in an ocean of sweat. Moreover, exercising too much, especially in high amounts of heat, could lead to heat exhaustion, whose symptoms include nausea and even fainting. Fortunately, swimming prevents heat exhaustion due to the moderate temperature the pool would be in.

The last great benefit of swimming is the low impact on the joints. Because you wouldn’t be slamming your body against hard ground while swimming, the stress on bones, ligaments, and tendons are minimal: that’s why many doctors recommend the activity for people with injuries and ailments like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Read The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

 

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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