Swimming is the exercise that does it all! Get in the pool!

This time of year, it is not hard to convince someone to go jump in a lake. Swimming is a great way to cool off and have fun with friends.

But this low-impact exercise is so much more!

Swimming is a stress-reducing, calorie-burning, mood-boosting wonder. Check out the benefits of swimming a few laps.

Strength and muscle definition– Swimming puts your whole body to work. Your arms are over your head and your core is engaged, trying to keep your body level with the surface of the water. This means swimming engages often underutilized muscles.

Your lats, deltoids and traps all get a workout, and your abs will thank you.

Flexibility– The repetitive movements found in swimming help keep our bodies limber – or get that way in a hurry. As you reach, pull and kick, you’re working against liquid pressure. The resistance of water can be up to 44 times greater than air. So every stretching move you do while swimming is like flexing with weights or resistance bands.

Inflammation reduction– Swimming is great for the cardiovascular system because it strengthens the heart muscle. Studies have also shown swimming reduces the inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build up in the heart. Swimming laps can benefit your heart in more ways than one.

Stress management– Like other exercise, swimming releases endorphins that make you feel fantastic. But being in the water provides extra emotional benefits. When you’re submerged, the water dulls the amount of sensory information bombarding your body. This escape can bring on feelings of calm. With its repetitive movement, swimming can be a kind of meditation.

Asthma improvement– Not only can swimming alleviate symptoms, but it can actually improve overall lung condition. Dry air in climate-controlled gyms or pollen-heavy outdoor conditions can make exercise challenging for asthmatics. But moist air around a pool makes it easier to breathe and work out. Plus, a recent study showed kids who swam saw improvements in asthma symptoms and the need for less ER visits.

Calorie burn– If you can’t tell that you’re sweating, it can be hard to sense how hard you’re working out. But don’t let that cool water fool you – swimming can burn as many calories as running. Just 10 minutes of the butterfly stroke can burn 150 calories. By contrast, running a 10-minute mile burns 100 calories. Your calorie burn while swimming depends on the stroke and your intensity.

Swimming is an activity anyone can do. No matter your skill level, you can have fun and get an effective workout. And summer is the perfect time to give swimming a try. Cool off, work out, and jump in!

Article by Dr. Lynn McIntosh. Dr. McIntosh is a board-certified chiropractor. In addition to being licensed to provide general chiropractic care, she is also a certified chiropractic sports physician, working with athletes from multiple disciplines on specific sports-related problems. She’s also board-certified in acupuncture. Learn more at KansasCityChiropractic.com.

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