Does swimming build muscle?
Swimming is enjoyed by many as a relaxing activity, and for good reason. A dip in the pool can do wonders for your mood and state of mind. One study even found that swimmers increased levels of positivity by 35% after swimming just a few laps in a pool! It releases endorphins, relaxes the mind, and promotes better overall health and fitness.
But can swimming actually help you to build muscle?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why swim for fitness?
Swimming is perfect for any level of fitness. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, swimming can offer you a way to get in shape without risking injuries that could be much more likely to happen on a physical workout machine.
This is mostly due to the increases resistance that water applies to the body. Since water is about 12 times as dense as air, it serves as a cushion that can help to keep you from coming into contact with hard or abrasive surfaces.
But pools are also usually warm – meaning that the temperature of the water will help to loosen up the muscles and ligaments. This will help you to avoid straining a muscle or pulling a tendon – a problem that could definitely set you back!
But how good of a workout is swimming?
As it turns out, swimming isn’t just relaxing and safe for the muscles. It’s also a pretty effective workout. If you’re wanting to tone your body, you’ll be surprised to learn that the resistance offered by water can act a bit like a workout machine. As you swim, the controlled resistance of the water causes you to use more of your muscles than you usually need. And this increased resistance translates into larger, more defined muscles.
Obviously, the more time you spend in the water (and the more you move while submersed in it), the more of an impact the activity will have. The more time you spend swimming laps (and the more laps you swim during that time), the more you can expect the activity to tone your body and build up your strength.
But swimming also gives you a cardiovascular workout at the same time. It even helps to promote better flexibility – making it one of the most diverse and user-friendly workouts available!
Obviously, the main challenge associated with swimming is finding a place to do it. Not everyone has access to a nice pool that they can use to swim laps in – and that can be problematic. Local health clubs and gyms sometimes maintain pools that the community can use for exercise – but if you live in a smaller town or out in the country, you might be forced to commute for longer distances to even gain access to the water – which can make spending quality time swimming laps difficult.
Swimming in natural bodies of water is also a possibility – though natural water is not usually heated, and can subject you to rather extreme temperatures at certain times of the year.
Plus, the risk for injury can certainly be greater in a natural body of water, as sharp rocks and ledges are often hidden from view below the surface, and can serve as dangerous obstacles that you can injure yourself on.
Plus, in some bodies of water (like the ocean), wildlife might be a real factor. It certainly wouldn’t do your workout any good to get stung by a jellyfish!
With all of that being said, swimming is most certainly an excellent way to tone and build muscle. It also boasts a myriad of other benefits as well, making it a beneficial and low-stress option for people of any fitness level who are looking for something that’s both enjoyable and effective.
If you’ve never tried swimming before, then this might be an awesome time to start! Call up your local gym and see if they maintain an indoor pool that you can use to swim laps in. You certainly won’t regret it – especially after a few weeks down the road, once you’ve started to see the amazing results of your effort as you slim down and tone your physique!