The Best Workout You're Not Doing

"Best Workout"

How many times have you read a headline just like this one? Not to date any of us, but let’s be real here… probably a hundred zillion times. If you, like us, heaved a huge sigh (there’s always another gimmick, another workout we haven’t done), we got you. This time, THIS TIME, we have an idea that could make a fantastic difference for your workout schedule, your efforts, your mental health, your sleep, and your tolerance for the smell of chlorine.

Swimming. Yes, really.

Surprising, isn’t it?

While you’re busy staying on track with your scheduled cardio and strength workouts, we have to ask: when was the last time you swam for fitness? Or, swam anytime that didn’t also involve a floating beer cooler? (Just us? Don’t mind us then, we’ll just float on by). If the answer is… NEVER…. allow us to reintroduce water into the chat.

Your new favorite workout studio.

Swimming might not necessarily the first workout you consider when you’re plotting your fitness efforts each week. But there’s a compelling body of evidence that suggests that adding even just one session per week can have demonstrable positive effects on your fitness and your well-being. 

Sure, it'll make you fitter

This one is a no-brainer. Using the resistance of water, swimming (or any of our water-based fitness classes) provides virtually no impact while challenging your whole body. The ensuing uptick in your heart rate, combined with the strengthening component of aqua resistance provides a dynamic and infinitely variable training option. But there are some less obvious benefits to dunking yourself at least once a week.

Swimming improves your balance

Given how much time we spend upright and moving such, we don’t often train out of that plane. Swimming offers a total body challenge and the bonus of core work — think of trying to float flat out on your stomach or back… feel that? Swimming is the perfect activity to challenge your sense of balance and core awareness, all while building new neuronal connections that allow us to become more proficient at moving on completely different planes and in completely different body positions.

Swimming improves your mobility

Swimming requires that we move through a large range of motion. The ensuing movements require continuous adjustment and adaptation in order to develop and achieve power and speed (and floatation!) in the water. And while we know maintaining flexibility and mobility as we age is important, it’s also just as important to develop those elements now! 

Swimming can improve your lung capacity and lung strength

In a comparative study of lung functions in swimmers and runners, it was found that swimming exercise affects lung volume measurements as respiratory muscles including diaphragm of swimmers are required to develop greater pressure as a consequence of immersion in water during respiratory cycle.” In short? Swimmers’ lungs are more powerful and efficient, even as compared to runners. And who doesn’t love better oxygenation?

Swimming can alter your muscle fiber makeup

A previous study tracked the effect of a normal collegiate swimming program along with an intense 10-day training period. During the study, they examined the peak tension (Po), negative log molar Ca2+ concentration (pCa)-force, and maximal shortening speed (Vmax) of the slow-twitch type I and fast-twitch type II fibers in the swimmers’ deltoid muscles.  In a nutshell, the effects found during the 10-day intense swimming period were similar to someone who engaged in a sprint training program or an explosive weight training period. 

Swimming can improve your stress level

Ok we all know stress is a thing, and while working out can help decompress some of that, swimming holds a special place for stress reduction. The process of swimming actually serves to elongate your muscles as you use them, which can provide a relaxing effect, especially when combined with the deep and rhythmic breathing typical of the activity. The result of swimming can be soothing, relaxing, and invigorating — an ideal combination to reduce your stress and improve your mental health.

A Reason to Smile: swimming has been shown to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels.

But... I don't know how to swim

And according to the Red Cross, you’re not alone. The good news is, now is a great time to learn how to swim! (Not to brag, but we have lessons). And, with a progressive approach geared for adults and some basic equipment (like goggles, an absorbent towel, and a swim cap) it can be a fun and rewarding process. 

“There are several options for adults who don’t know how to swim,” explains VENT Fitness Aquatics Manager Andrea Wilcox, certified lifeguard, (and CPR AED, WSI Water Swim Instructor, Aquatic Exercise Association with an Arthritis background, USA Swimming coach, Head Coach for Special Olympics… the list goes on, but you can just read more about her here.) With over 20 years of water instruction experience, she has coached hundreds of beginners — children through adult — through success in the water. “Our approach is progressive, and we’re ready to help even the most inexperienced or hesitant swimmers.”

Need some additional incentive?

Swimming is fun. Nobody said you have to join the next local triathlon. And while it’s great fitness, it can also be superbly relaxing and… yeah, fun! (Pool noodles, anyone?)

Swimming can save your life. This is one aspect of the sport that makes it different from everything else. It’s a life skill that can literally save your life. 

You can take water-based classes. This is a great option if the idea of swimming laps doesn’t appeal, or if you want to change up the challenge. We offer a variety of classes that utilize water resistance and foam equipment to give you unlimited options and efficiency while in the water. Kickboxing underwaterBarre in the pool? Hella challenging. 

It’s adaptable to almost any range of fitness level and mobility. Have a lingering injury? Maybe some mobility concerns? Water workouts can help reduce the pressure and weight on those affected areas to help you continue to move more freely. “Due to the reduction in body weight and stress it puts on your joints, swimming can offer the opportunity to move in ways that you can’t on land owing to the support provided by the water,” explains swim instructor Emily Morrissey of Swimming Nature.Aquatics 

 

The Takeaway

Swimming can make a difference. 

Whether you’re a seasoned splash expert, or brand new to the idea of dunking your head, we have options. It can help improve your mental health, your physical strength, and lung function, as well as cardiorespiratory fitness. Win-win? Absolutely! 

See you poolside!