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Splash Around: Why Swimming is Great for Cardiovascular Health

February 14, 2014

One of the biggest reasons that people stop exercising, especially as they age, is that most go-to methods can be strenuous on your joints. Running, jumping and other high impact activities can lead to injury or joint soreness, leading some people to shy away from exercising altogether.

However, you don’t need to be pounding pavement to get a good cardiovascular workout. Take swimming, for example. Thanks to the relatively low impact on your joints, swimming laps can be great exercise with minimal injury risks. Not to mention swimming is great for your body and your heart health. Here are just a few reasons why.

Five Reasons Swimming is Good for Your Body

  1. swim for heart healthIt gets your heart rate up: The repetitive full-body motions and added resistance of the water make swimming a tough workout where you won’t even know you’re breaking a sweat. However, you will probably get your heart rate up, which helps to improve your overall cardiovascular health.
  2. It strengthens your muscles: Water weighs about 60 pounds per cubic foot, so by moving your arms and legs to propel yourself forward, you are engaging in a form of resistance training that will work to strengthen your muscles.
  3. It’s gentle: The water will support about 90% of your body weight, so swimming is a gentle option for people who might have disabilities or arthritis. You can get a good workout without putting unnecessary strain on your body.
  4. It can help with weight control: Since swimming is a total body workout, you can achieve more by doing less. As a big calorie burner, swimming can be a great addition to a workout regime to help control your weight.
  5. It can help lower cholesterol: Swimming is an aerobic activity, which helps to balance out your “good” cholesterol (HDL) with “bad” cholesterol (LDL), which in turn helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Keep in mind that even if you aren’t a strong swimmer, water aerobics, pool walking or “running” are also great forms of exercise that are gentler on your body while reaping big health rewards. However, as always, check with your doctor before starting any new form of exercise.

Is swimming part of your exercise routine? Tell us the other ways you stay heart healthy in the comments below. 

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