Why on earth should you bother to learn to swim at your age?
Because swimming is one of the best, low-impact ways to get your whole body into gear. It works practically all of the muscles in the body and can develop strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance. In addition, this healthy activity can be practiced for a lifetime, as it is a great form of fitness for all ages.
So what exactly are the benefits of swimming? Here’s why:
1.) Easy on the Body
Swimming is a good fitness choice for just about everyone, especially those who have physical limitations or who find other forms of exercise painful. It is a good, whole-body exercise that has low impact for people with arthritis, musculoskeletal, or weight limitations.
2.) Increased Muscle Tone & Strength
Swimming recruits all the major muscle groups, including the shoulders, back, abdominals, legs, hips, and glutes. And because water affords 12 times the resistance as air in every direction, it helps to build strength.
Here’s a quick exercise you can do to bring your sexy back:
The Back wall glide – this exercise helps to activate the muscles in your core and lower body.
- Hold onto the pool ledge, tuck your knees into your chest, and press your feet into the wall.
- Push off from the wall and float on your back as far as you can.
- Draw your knees into your chest, press your feet down to the bottom of the pool, and run back to the wall.
- Continue this exercise for 5-10 minutes.
3.) Asthma Friendly
Swimming is also desirable for people with exercise-induced asthma, as the warm, humid air [around the pool] causes less irritation to the airways. Swimming also helps strengthen your lung and over time improves your lung capacity and function.
4.) Strengthens Your Heart
In addition to toning visible muscles like pectorals, triceps and quads, swimming also helps improve the most important muscle in our bodies: the heart.
Because swimming is an aerobic exercise, it serves to strengthen the heart, not only helping it to become larger, but making it more efficient in pumping — which leads to better blood flow throughout your body.
How to Get Started
Whether you are 10 years old or approaching 80, learning how to swim can be an intimidating endeavor–especially if you never learned. Despite its daunting qualities, swimming is an important skill that is worth the effort to learn.
If you’re ready to get started and learn to swim, experts recommend getting a swim coach or joining a masters swimming group in your area. Don’t be intimidated by the name; ‘masters’ just means over age 20.
Masters swimming accommodates all levels, from beginners to advanced, and you don’t have to want to compete to join. This type of group supports recreational swimming for fitness and is a great way to learn technique — which is everything in swimming. Masters swimming accommodates all levels, from beginners to advanced, and you don’t have to want to compete to join. This type of group supports recreational swimming for fitness, and is a great way to learn technique — which is everything in swimming.
Getting the rhythm of the strokes and the breath can be overwhelming at first. Coaches break it down and take you there slowly, practicing one part at a time.
For those afraid of the water or simply nervous about the process and what it takes to learn to swim, know that it is okay to take things slowly. Begin by literally getting your feet wet and gradually increase the amount of your body put into the water. Allow yourself eventually to stand in the water completely and away from the edge of the pool. To calm your nerves, stay in the shallow part of a pool until you feel comfortable in the water.
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