Swimming has long been touted by the medical field to be the safest exercise that a person can do, where sports related injuries are concerned. The reason for this is because of the buoyancy that the water provides. This translates to our body weights being one tenth of what they are on land when we are in the water. This great reduction in perceived body weight allows the body to move more freely, without any stress on the joints, bones, or muscles. As an added bonus, movements made in the water are done so against a field of resistance that is twelve times greater than what the air has. So exercising in water is equivalent to doing the same exercises on land while wearing twelve pound weights. However, the aforementioned buoyancy allows this benefit to go virtually unnoticed because there is such an ease in motion.

As our bodies age, we find ourselves less and less capable of performing even the most mundane tasks with ease, as we were once able to do. Bones deteriorate and become fragile, joints become afflicted with arthritis, and our balance tends to be off as well. Swimming works all the major muscle groups in the body – just like aerobics and running do – but with much less friction and stress on the moving parts of the body. Swimming also provides the lungs and heart with a vigorous workout by increasing the demand for blood and oxygen in the body. The resistance that the weight of the water creates as our bodies pass through it is equivalent to the same type of resistance used in resistance training that runners and other athletes do.

Even though swimming provides a very safe and effective way of getting the recommended amount of exercise that our bodies need, there can be dangers associated with it as well. Here are some guidelines to follow if you or someone you know is thinking about starting an exercise program that involves swimming.

Warm Ups

Because swimming utilizes every major muscle group in the body, every major muscle group in the body must be warmed up effectively beforehand. The arms, hips, legs, back, shoulders, and neck all need to be thoroughly and properly stretched to avoid injury and over-exertion.

Proceed with caution

Starting a swimming session with vigorous activity can do more harm than good. Always remember to start your session slowly and gradually increase your pace and duration.

Check with your doctor

As with any other exercise program, it is recommended that you consult your doctor to find out if you are healthy enough to partake in such activities.

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