Q:

Is swimming good exercise?

A:

Quick Answer

Swimming is an effective whole-body exercise according to the director of the exercise physiology laboratories at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Swimming is ideal for people with physical limitations or those who suffer pain from other exercises.

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Full Answer

Swimming utilizes the shoulder, back, abdominal, leg, hip and gluteal muscles. The water also provides resistance and helps to build strength without the use of weights. Overall swimming incorporates cardiovascular training and strengthening simultaneously, and is a great way to increase fitness. Those with arthritis and exercise-induced asthma are able to incorporate swimming into a fitness routine without the limitation of their inflictions. People experiencing difficulty with weight bearing due to obesity are better able to engage in swimming as opposed to other fitness activities as well.

The weight loss benefits of swimming are under discussion. There is a theory that the body reacts to water submersion by lowering the metabolic rate. A lower metabolic rate results in the body uses fewer calories to maintain normal function and burning fewer calories in the water. This can be overcome by interval training during a swim. During interval training, a swimmer swims quickly for short spurts, and then decreases to a less intense lap pace.

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