Having a defined, toned and muscular physique may seem unattainable to a lot of people, but it can be done without having to fork out an exorbitant amount of money on gym memberships. Taking up a sport regularly can play a big part in helping you to both keep healthy and build muscle.
Swimming is one such sport where regular participants can keep healthy while simultaneously developing muscle. If you work a nine-to-five job and find yourself with very little time to keep fit, a quick one-hour session at the nearest swimming pool could carry a significant weight. Most municipal swimming pools are affordable. In addition, target weekday evenings as they are typically not as busy during that time of day. This should give you ample room to move around the pool at your leisure.
One of the best things about swimming is that, whether you’re performing breaststroke, butterfly stroke or crawl, you are using both arms and legs to move up and down the pool vigorously. Irrespective of the type of stroke, you need to use your legs to propel your body forward through kicking motions. In addition, regardless of the style of swimming, you need to make full use of your arms in order to move forward. This makes swimming, a full body workout that engages the majority of your major muscle groups, helping to shape up your body much faster than some other sports that only focus on select groups of muscles.
Also, if your running routine starts to take a toll on your joints, swimming should be an excellent replacement sport as it takes the pressure off the constant ground pounding that a running exercise involves. Perhaps you have been engaged in some other form of sport, and now, injury prevents you from putting excess weight on your knee or ankle. If you want to keep your your body shape stable over that period of time, swimming would be a great alternative sport to consider.
Regular swimming not only builds muscle strength, but also endurance, and cardiovascular stamina. After a land workout, swimming a few laps (after a quick shower of course) can help you cool down, move blood through your system, and help your body recover, as you glide through the water.
Swimming for relaxation
Psychologically, swimming is also an excellent relaxation activity, as it lets your mind wander as you move slowly through the water, focusing on nothing but the rhythm of your breaststrokes. This form of relaxation can increase your feeling of well-being, as you leave the pool refreshed, more relaxed, and ready to tackle your activities with a much stronger resolve.
Swimming to burn calories
The amount of calories burned by swimming, depends on the velocity of your movements as well as the type of stroke, but it’s also affected by the skill of the swimmer. The more skilled you are, the less energy you deploy while moving through the water. Studies have however shown that on average, simply treading water can burn as much as 7.5 calories per kilogram of body weight per minute. The previous statement may lead you to believe that mediocre swimmers would burn more calories than elite swimmers; however, this is not always true. As a beginner, even though you deploy more energy to swim, you simply cannot swim for an extended period of time. The more skilled you are, the less energy you spend; but you swim much longer than a novice. So they all cancel out in effect.
If you do decide to start swimming regularly, it’s important to begin slowly. Going too hard too quickly could leave you overly exhausted and turn you off altogether. By starting slowly (10 minutes at a time for instance), you leave yourself wanting more each time. Also socialize while you are in the swimming pool. Don’t be shy; ask more experienced swimmers to give you tips. They will be more than willing to help. Soon enough, you will be in the league of the Michael Phelps of the world…OK, maybe not…But who cares, you will be burning calories and keeping in shape; and that’s really all that matters! Good luck.
For more tips and advice you can check out sites like Predator Nutrition, where you’ll be able to find more information on fitness, strength training and muscle building.