6 Health Benefits of Swimming According to an Orthopedic Surgeon

health benefits of swimmingSwimming is a wonderful way to enjoy the summer time. Whether you’re going to the beach, lake, or pool — swimming is a fun way to exercise and keep cool during the hot months. However, swimming doesn’t have to be an activity you only partake in when the sun is out and the weather is warm. Most gym memberships feature swimming pool perks and the local YMCAs in Louisville, KY have indoor pools which make it possible to swim year-round.

Swimming has been scientifically proven to offer a wide variety of health benefits to those who participate in the sport. Your body can greatly improve in a variety of ways when you add swimming to your exercise regimen. And unlike some other sports that have equally weighted benefits and downfalls, the health benefits of swimming greatly outweigh any downfalls making it a great sport for people of all ages, sizes, and shapes to pick up. Dr. Stacie Grossfeld, a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine, explains the top 6 health benefits of swimming.

6 Health Benefits of Swimming

1. Increases Your Heart Rate

Swimming is a great way to increase your heart rate without having to participate in high-impact exercises like running. Running, and other high-intensity cardio exercises, can be very hard on your joints including your knees and ankles. Swimming relieves all the pressure off of your joints and can raise your heart rate as high, or even higher, than traditional cardio exercises can.

2. Builds Endurance

Swimming is a great way to build endurance. By swimming, your body goes through two different stages of energy use – an aerobic phase and an anaerobic phase. During the aerobic stage, your body is getting enough oxygen to power itself and provide your muscles with energy whereas during the anaerobic stage, your body is not getting enough oxygen. The switch between aerobic and anaerobic stages that occur during swimming helps to build up endurance and eventually, your body will spend longer time in the aerobic phase than in the anaerobic phase and you will be able to fight off the tired feeling that often causes us to stop exercising.

3. Weight Maintenance

All cardio is great for weight loss and weight maintenance including swimming. Depending on the goals around your weight, swimming is a perfectly healthy way to shed pounds or keep them off once they are gone. In addition to being an enjoyable way to maintain your weight, swimming also improves heart and lung health. By improving the health of your heart and lungs, you can explore more exercise activities and continue to build endurance through cardio.

4. Strengthens and Tones Muscle

Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise. It raises your heart rate and gets you sweating, but the water also provides resistance which allows you to build strengthen, and tone your muscles. You can target different groups of muscles by using different swimming styles such as the front stroke, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly stroke, and many others. Toning muscle and strengthening your body are two more health benefits of swimming that are undeniable.

5. Provides Low-Impact Therapy

Low-impact therapy is an important part of any exercise routine. Most cardio exercises are high-impact. For example, when running or jumping, at least one foot is constantly bearing the entire weight of your body. This can be detrimental to your bones and joints which is why it is recommended to substitute some high-impact cardio with low-impact cardio such as swimming. When you swim, you are constantly staying in motion to stay afloat and you are rarely coming in contact with solid surfaces. Additionally, the buoyancy of the water helps to prevent any joint damage from occurring.

6. Stress Relief

Swimming is not only a great exercise. It is also a great stress reliever. When you’re swimming, you must keep your mind focused on one thing and one thing only — swimming. Most exercises are stress relievers in one way or another, but with swimming, your thoughts must be totally focused on moving your arms and legs to propel yourself through the water. In a study done by Speedo, they found that 74% of people surveyed said that swimming helps to relieve stress and tension after a long and busy day. In addition to relieving stress, the surveyed party also agreed that after swimming, they feel better about themselves both mentally and physically.

If you are searching for a new cardiovascular exercise or are simply looking for a way to add more physical activity into your daily routine, Dr. Stacie Grossfeld of Orthopaedic Specialists recommends swimming. The health benefits of swimming are wide and far for both mental and physical health including heart, lung, and bone health.

To find a YMCA in Louisville, KY that has a swimming pool, visit their website and check out their map. In addition to the YMCA, Louisville, KY has public pools that are available in the summer and private gyms which feature indoor pools.

Dr. Stacie Grossfeld is a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine who practices in Louisville, KY. Her practice, Orthopaedic Specialists, has two locations and she is currently accepting new patients. Are you interested in learning more about ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, are looking for guidance on how to eat healthy and lose weight, or are experiencing pain in your joints or bones? Contact Dr. Grossfeld today at 502-212-2663.