written by the home doctor team

We’re a country surrounded by water so it’s not surprise that swimming is one of the most popular sports in Australia.

A favourite of many, swimming offers cool relief from a hot day and is a fun way to keep active and healthy. If you’re considering joining some swimming classes as the warmer weather sets in there are some wonderful health benefits you should know.

Health benefits of swimming

Swimming is a great form of physical exercise as it requires your whole body to move. Freestyle stroke alone requires shoulder blade rotation, shoulder extension, kicking and the use of core muscles for stabilisation.

Some of the most notorious physical health benefits of swimming include:

  • Increase your heart rate and cardiovascular fitness
  • Builds endurance
  • Increases muscle and builds strength
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Promotes pulmonary fitness
  • Improves coordination, flexibility, balance and posture
  • Aids weight loss

One of the most notable benefits of swimming is that it’s a low-impact form of physical exercise. Water provides a level of buoyancy which makes it ideal for people with injuries or weakened joints and bones.

More benefits

The benefits of swimming don’t stop with the body. It also has a wonderful impact on the mind too, offering:

  • Stress relief
  • Relaxation
  • Social support

What to know before you start

Before you dive in there are some tips that will help you get the most out of swimming.

  1. Be realistic: While swimming may seem like an easier form of exercise than other forms of cardio, start slow. Most beginners will find swimming for an hour difficult. Be realistic about your expectations of yourself and your goals.
  2. Quality of quantity: Getting your stroke and style right is more important than swimming more laps. If your technique is fading after two laps take a breather and start again. You’ll get the most from your entire body if it’s all worked properly and you’ll reduce your risk of injury or strain.
  3. Be prepared: A good pair of goggles, quality bathers and kick board will help you succeed. Nothing is more distracting to the rhythm and pace than your goggles filling with water or falling off.
  4. Mix it up: Use a variety of strokes to get the best whole body workout.
  5. Warm up and down: Just like any form of exercise a gentle warm up and warm down are essential. While swimming provides a nice low-impact exercise a couple of slow warm up laps and a cool off lap will go along way to your recovery the next day.

Perhaps the most convincing benefit of all is that swimming is for all ages. From just 2 months old and right through to old age, the benefits of swimming continue. So, what are you waiting for?