Swimming and Fitness
Swimming is a pastime enjoyed by many, for some the aim of the game is relaxation, for other’s it’s their preferred method for keeping physically fit. Swimming is one of those exercises that is truly a “total body” exercise. No major muscle groups are left un-worked, you even utilise the muscles in your face when you swim! It is an incredible activity that to some will come easy and to others not so much. Some people really have to work at it, and let’s face it; we won’t all grow up into being Thorpe’s or Phelps’ but the important thing about swimming is that we continue to do it in some form or another. Pound for pound swimming burns more calories that jogging, walking or weight training purely because no part of the body really gets a rest when swimming. The absence of gravity allowing us to float makes us have to completely self propel ourselves through the crystal clear waters. For any of you that like Anatomy & Physiology we require our arms and legs to act as levers and pulleys and in order for this to work efficiently we have to produce incredibly complex patterns of movements of the likes are never seen on other activities. Swimming truly is a special activity.
Within the realms of fitness swimming can create great changes on the body, muscle hypertrophy (growth), increased flexibility, improved coordination, greater strength and endurance and much more. The major difference however from a physical perspective is that swimming truly is a non-contact sport and injuries are uncommon in the pool, the majority of swimmers injuries now come as a result of their need to cross-train and improve their fitness levels by lifting weights or aerobic classes so make sure that when you decide to expand your training knowledge that you do so correctly and with the proper expertise.
Ben Smith, Assistant Manager, Portlaoise Leisure Centre.