Swimming is one of the most popular sports in Australia. Our nation is surrounded by water and swimming is one of our great passions. As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit, stay healthy and make friends. Swimming is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime. It is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits.
Swimming for recreation
Swimming is a great recreational activity for people of all ages. Recreational swimming can provide you with a low-impact workout and it’s also a good way to relax and feel good. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are breaststroke, backstroke, side stroke and freestyle.
Some people who enjoy swimming want to take it to a competitive level. This can provide the health benefits of a vigorous workout as well as the fun and thrill of competition. The main strokes used in competitive swimming are breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. The distances swum in competition swimming can vary from 50 metres in a pool to much further distances in open water.
Health benefits of swimming
Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water.
Swimming is a good all-round activity because it:
- keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body
- builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
- helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
- tones muscles and builds strength
- provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.
Other benefits of swimming
Swimming has many other benefits including:
- being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
- alleviating stress
- improving coordination, balance and posture
- improving flexibility
- providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions
- providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day
- being available in many places – you can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams and rivers. Make sure that the environment you choose to swim in is safe.