FEELING GREAT: Why swimming is an important exercise to do for a health lifestyle

I’ve spoken a lot about running and cycling in recent columns – now let’s talk about good old-fashioned swimming and see if we can add this to your routine as well.

By Paul Gough
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 6:00 pm
You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to get the benefits from regular exercise in the swimming pool – or with an organised group in the North Sea.
You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to get the benefits from regular exercise in the swimming pool – or with an organised group in the North Sea.

The reason why swimming is important? Well there are enough good ones to fill a book, and that’s why swimming is on my top five list of the best and safest ways to exercise and keep healthy for people of all ages, young and old.

Doing it often can have a dramatic effect on lowering blood pressure levels, particularly if you’re 60 or over. I recently read a study about swimming which revealed that those who swim three times per week have a chance of significantly lowering their systolic blood pressure reading significantly.

Not sure what that is? Well, it’s the most important one – the one where your GP would be happy to see a low number rather than a high one. Simply, it’s the rate at which your heart is beating when it rests.

The results of the study acted as an important reminder that there are many options available for people to exercise, no matter what their age or the state of things like their knees or hips – as there aren’t many people who can’t get in a pool and do a few lengths.

People often associate exercising with running, cycling, even walking. Yet swimming is possibly the best way of all, simply because it’s easy on the joints and not likely to cause much overheating of your body, as the cold water is going to cool you down.

Here are some more benefits of swimming:

1: It’s something you can do on your own;

2: You don’t have to worry about the dark nights or pairing up with someone to stay safe (as you might do with running);

3: It’s relatively inexpensive for the health benefits you get;

4: One of the biggest benefits of swimming, particularly for the 50+ age group, is that the buo yancy of the water makes it friendly to ankle, knee and back joints because there’s almost none of the stress or impact which might happen if you were walking or running;

5: Swimming is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. A gentle swim can burn over 200 calories in just half an hour, more than double that of walking. And a faster swim would see that chocolate bar gone quicker than if you went running or cycling.

You could, of course if you ae confident and brave enough, to dip in the North Sea. After all, it’s free to do so and it’s a real exhilarating sensation. I’ve seen more and more people along Seaton Carew and the Headland taking the plunge and there’s groups who get together to do it regularly.