Benefits (and Possible Drawbacks) of Swimming

Swimming can be a great pastime specially because of the heat in Singapore. It can also be a great sport and fitness endeavor. We get a lot of benefits from swimming, but if we’re not careful, there can also be problems.

Benefits
• Full-body workout: When you swim, you’re using most of the muscles in your body. You use your arms, legs, even you’re core and back are also engaged. Because of this, you’ll not only gain muscle strength, but also a toned figure. Take a look at Joseph Schooling’s physique, you’ll easily notice the definition of his muscles.

• Flexibility: You can easily improve flexibility through swimming. Because we do broad ranges of motion with our limbs while swimming, we train the joints and ligaments in various parts of our body to become more responsive to stretching. When we become more flexible, it reduces the likelihood of us getting injured.

• Stress relief: Much like meditation, the breathing exercises in swimming can also give a calming and therapeutic effect. The rhythmic breathing that you use when you swim can actually help you relax. In addition, floating peacefully on a pool can help you drown out all the worries and stress. The sound of water and the feeling of floating can help you unwind after a tiring day.

• A life-skill: The fact of the matter is, water is all around us. We are surrounded by bodies of water, great oceans and small rivers and lakes alike. Learning to swim is a life-skill because it is essential for our survival. Not only does learning to swim save you from drowning, it also gives you the capability to help others who might be caught in the dangerous situation themselves.

Drawbacks
• Chlorine: Chlorine is a chemical added to the water in most swimming pools. While it is necessary to keep the water clean, frequent exposure to chlorine can cause damage to us humans. For one, it can be absorbed by the lungs while breathing and can cause respiratory problems like asthma. It also strips the natural oils off of our hair and skin, leaving them dry and damaged.

• Doesn’t help much with weight loss: Even though it is a full-body workout, it has been found that swimming doesn’t really help with intense calorie burning. It is a great way to keep fit but doesn’t actually produce significant results for weight loss.

• Other factors: Firstly, when swimming outdoors, we are overly exposed to the sun. Because our body is surrounded by water, we may not notice the sunburn. The darkening of our skin as a result of overexposure to the sun should also not be taken lightly. Secondly, swimming out in the open can also be quite dangerous. The current is not exactly stable and can be strong enough to pull you in. Also, there are aquatic animals that can harm you physically if you’re not vigilant.

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