We know why exercise is good for us. It keeps our weight under control. It improves our strength. Studies show aerobic exercise strengthens our heart, increases our stamina and energy, reduces our risk for diabetes, and lowers our cholesterol. It also produces that feel-good chemical, endorphins, reducing stress and making us happier.
But ugh! It’s hot! Who feels like exercising on days when the heat and humidity are oppressive? And worse: someone might see us in a swimsuit.
We have many good reasons to get in the swim. Here are four of them that show why you should overcome those obstacles and use the swimming pool to get fit this summer.
You’ll lighten up.
Your body waist-deep in water bears just half of its weight. So if you’re feeling a little too heavy to risk your knees with a brisk walk in your neighborhood, or you can’t bear to squish your behind on a tiny bicycle seat, you’ll enjoy the buoyancy of a swimming pool.
Whether you’re walking or performing water aerobics in that waist-deep water, you’ll feel the benefits of improved strength and flexibility and reduced stress on stiff or arthritic joints.
Want an even tougher workout? Immerse yourself up to the neck. You’ll bear just around a quarter of your weight, which means you’ll have to work harder to move yourself around.
You’ll tighten up.
You’re probably not an Olympics-caliber swimmer but you can get the benefits of a lean body by swimming. Part of this is due to the natural resistance provided by water. You don’t get that from air. So unless you’re walking hills, nothing is pushing back against you to help build your muscles.
And because swimming offers aerobics and resistance training all in one, you’re strengthening your bones, too! That’s what we call a bonus!
You’ll feel the burn—of calories.
For every 10 minutes of swimming, you’ll burn about 60 calories with breast stroke and 100 calories with freestyle or crawl. (If you can do the butterfly, you’ll burn a whopping 150 calories in 10 minutes.) No wonder swimmers are so lean and muscular!
You’ll float your stress away.
The best part about exercise is where your mind can take you. Aside from all those endorphins, swimming—like many repetitive exercises—brings you the peace of mind that comes from meditation. It’s easy to focus not on how hot you are or how tired you are but on your breathing, on the clear, clean feeling of the water, and on the delicious healthy thoughts replacing all those stressful ones in your mind.
Even when you’re working hard, swimming still feels like fun! And after a few weeks of regular exercise in the pool, you’ll notice a difference. And you’ll have another reason to get in the swim: Someone might see you in your swimsuit!