The Health Benefits of Swimming on Holiday
- 11 February 2013 11 February 2013
We all look forward to a much-anticipated dip in the swimming pool on holiday or snorkel in the sea, but do we ever take into account the rewarding effects it has on our bodies? For many of us, swimming is more of a hobby rather than exercise and a quick swim can be an excellent way to unwind and de-stress or cool-off on a hot day. But few people actually consider the positive outcome it can bring about for our health. With some of these tips, why not try and make your next trip to the retreats pool or the beach a more beneficial one?
Like many other sports, swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise, strengthening the heart and the lungs. The resistance of the water is much greater than that of air, hence why it is great for calorie burning and building endurance. An hour of intense swimming can burn up to 650 calories, which is more than the equivalent time spent cycling or walking and a great method to achieve your weight-loss goals. However, the low-impact nature of the sport means it is significantly gentler on the joints than other activities such as jogging or walking, where our joints are subject to a great deal more impact and shock from hard surfaces. In addition, swimming causes less stress on the body's cooling mechanisms in comparison to other sports practised in the open air.
The most important factor to bear in mind is that swimming brings into action virtually all of the muscles of a human body when different strokes are practised, but without any forceful impact on these muscles. This, combined with the buoyancy of the water, means it is the ideal way to rehabilitate muscle injuries or joints and muscles which have become stiff over time. For this reason it is the ideal holiday exercise for the elderly as it also aids the ease of other complications such as back pain. By exerting effort through movement when swimming, the muscles will gradually become more conditioned and toned, and counter the negative impact that activities such as weightlifting may have.
Swimming in the Kedara pool at the Como Shambhala Estate in Bali
How to maximise the benefits of your swim:
The results gained from swimming will, of course, be much more noticeable if practised regularly and beyond your holiday as it will take some time to develop and improve upon your technique. Going for a few shorter swims every week will be more help than longer, less frequent swims and your skills will improve more rapidly. When on a healthy holiday, it can be so easy to pop for an early morning swim so why not make this an everyday habit!
It is also important to mix up different swim strokes and techniques to maximise the positive outcomes of a workout, so try to switch between breaststroke, backstroke, front crawl and butterfly. Moreover, swimming with a partner can often make exercising feel like less of a challenge and give you motivation and encouragement.
Remember to also consider your breathing; swimming will enable you to develop good breathing practices, particularly of importance for those who suffer from conditions such as asthma. Perfecting your breathing will enhance the efficiency of your stroke and improve your endurance, meaning you can swim for longer. This involves learning to exhale under the water before coming up for air and to keep your head still when under the water so as not to affect your coordination.
If you like the idea of getting fit through a low-impact sport, there's no better option than swimming and with a variety of stunning pools available at our healthy holiday destinations, there's never been a better place to get started. Therefore we have rounded up our top 5 holiday destinations that will inspire you to make swimming a healthy habit...