Benefits of swimming, advice and tips for making swimming beneficial to your fitness and health.

Let's begin with the basic benefits of swimming before we get too technical. As you may or may not be aware there are several benefits including psychological, physiological and social. Let’s start with the psychological, when anyone learns any kind of skill there is a sense of achievement swimming is no different. Their is a very elated sense of achievement when you have achieved a skill. If this is from self determination of being taught by a parent It still makes you feel good about yourself. Also swimming is good for alleviating stress.

benefits of swimming/click here to learn to swim

Physiological

let’s begin in my page about benefits of swimming with energy systems. As you know we all need energy to move our muscles. These muscles are moved by messages from the brain via the spinal cord. Muscle fibers do not act individually they act in groups. Tendons bind the muscles to the bones, this increases strength and efficiency. Muscles come in three different categories.

Voluntary muscles (striped) these muscles are under the control of your own will.

Involuntary muscles, (non striped) these muscles are not controlled by your will they are muscles that control your bladder or your intestines For your muscles to work we need energy so they can contract. This is supplied to the muscles by a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is stored in the muscles when the muscle contracts the ATP is broken down into adenosine diphosphate (ATP).

Cardiac muscle this is the muscle of your own heart this has an automatic rhythmical contraction which is independent of nerve supply.


Benefits of swimming/Energy systems.

Your muscles prefer a warm environment. When your muscles are cold or are in a cold climate it will stimulate a contraction but if this is a continual cold environment i.e. water the muscles will go into an involuntary contractions. This is more commonly known as cramp. If this does happen you or your child should immediately be removed from the water. Then apply warmth to the muscles, they will appear hard to the touch. You can massage and rub the muscles until release occurs.

Benefits of swimming /Ways in which you reconstitute ATP

The CP System, ATP is constantly being broken down can be reconstituted by another substance which is similarly stored in the muscles, called creatine phosphate (CP). As long as the supplies of the substance last. Muscle contractions can take place without oxygen bu this is only for a very short time about five to ten seconds.

Benefits of swimming/ The lactic acid system.

ATP can be formed by the breakdown of glucose from digestion this is then stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen. Note that pyruvic acid is formed when glycogen is broken down to produce ATP. If oxygen is available, then pyruvic acid is converted into carbon dioxide and water, which is then removed via the lungs. If there is insufficient oxygen in the pyruvic acid is converted into lactic acid, which inhibits muscular activity.

So what does all this technical stuff mean. You should do all different kinds of swimming for example. Sprints for about 50 meters in less than thirty seconds. Then try one hundred meters in about thirty seconds to one minute. Two hundred meters in one to three minutes and one thousand five hundred meters in greater than three minutes. In swimming in these different times you are using all the different types of energy systems your body will adjust to the stress you put on it because you are doing a variety of work to improve all three systems.

It is also important to be in a state of relaxation this is just as important for your muscles to recover. When swimming it is important to move across the pool with precision using the minimum amount of energy. The ideal stroke will maximize propulsion with as little effort as possible with a fast and relaxed recovery this will permit as much rest as possible during the stroke. The ability to vary the degree of energy utilized in a stroke is a requirement of stroke technique.


The benefits of swimming/ the effect of exercise on the body and circulatory system is great. The muscles require about twenty times more blood than at rest. The output of the heart increases threefold and fivefold after training. The increased blood supply is derived from the digestive system and the skin, that is why you should not eat and then take part in strenuous exercise. The capillary network around the muscles open up and the surrounding muscular activity assists the pumping action of the de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. This extra return of blood flowing back to the causes it to beat faster. The veins of the chest and abdomen are empted towards the heart during inspiration and refilled during exhalation by the action of the diaphragm. The extra carbon dioxide produced by the working muscles, stimulates the respiratory centre of the brain. This causes an increase in the rate and depth of breathing. Also the air passages widen to permit easer ventilation of the lungs. The heart rate will also increase and pulse rate could reach 180/200 beats per minute. Heart output will ultimately determine the level of activity that can be tolerated, so the effect of training on the heart muscle is very important. The heat produced by this activity is dispersed into the blood stream, and passes to the skin where it is lost, so that even body temperature is maintained.

Benefits of swimming/short term physiological effects of swimming this could also be classified as the changes seen shortly afterwards

Heart rate increases Breathing deepens Hormone levels increase Increase in carbon dioxide levels Blood vessels increase in size Blood pressure reduces Perspiration assists with dispersal of heat

Benefits of swimming/Long term affects of swimming.

More muscle, less fat Tidal volume of lungs increases Heart becomes bigger and stronger Heart rate falls Capillaries increase in numbers Muscle tissue becomes more efficient in gas exchange

Benefits of swimming/hyperventilation.

Just a warning about hyperventilation, if your not familiar with this it is the rapid over breathing before swimming. You may see children do this in your local pool. See how long they can stay underwater. It does not help the body to perform better. This practice can lead to dangerous lowering of carbon dioxide in the blood, with very little increases in oxygen. After subsequent exercise the rise in carbon dioxide levels, from an artificially starting one may not reach sufficiently high levels to stimulate the respiratory centers to the brain. Lack of oxygen might arise which could cause drowsiness, or unconsciousness, or even death.

Benefits of swimming/other benefits.

When you can swim there is a whole load of activities that can open up for you. Maybe you want to join a club surfing, scuba diving, sailing, water skiing and anything else that evolves water.

Swimming is good for you if you are recovering from an injury or a more permanent disability that keeps you restricted by movement but in the water you are more able to move around due to the support it gives. You can work the muscles without weight bearing on them Swimming is for all abilities all fitness levels and for all age groups. You can learn any time in life and it can give you a lot of pleasure.

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