Unlike other fitness regimens, swimming engages every muscle group and energy system! Water is 800 times denser than air, and that added resistance allows for an awesome total body workout.

Related: 10 Reasons You Need To Try Swimming

The benefits of swimming are many. Here are a few you might not have known about:

1. Improves Coordination

Signature Michael Phelps Arm Slap Before The Start!

Swimming improves flexibility, range of motion, and functional strength in the water. This leads to improved core strength and mobile stability in all your joints, as well as stronger muscles and enhanced motor skills.

Related: Dryland Workouts for Swimmers

2. It’s Joint Friendly

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It’s joint-friendly. If you’re recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit. If running is your passion, then swimming is a great way to work out on recovery days, allowing knees a rest from the pavement.

3. Burns Major Calories

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Swimming is, without question, a very effective way to torch calories. Each competitive stroke engages different muscle groups so you’ll burn more or less depending on how much of each stroke you swim. The king of calorie-burning is butterfly. According to Nutristrategy.com, the calorie torching ranges from 649 calories for a 130-pounder to 1,024 calories for a 205-pounder.

Related: 5 Ways To Burn More Calories When You Swim

4. Improves Breathing Efficiently

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In addition to improved heart health and stamina, swimming also improves how efficiently you breathe. This becomes very beneficial when doing other activities because you won’t be as out of breath after running up a flight of stairs.

5. It’s Optimal For Cross Training

Women's 100m Backstroke semi-final!

A swim workout will actually improve overall performance at the gym (and vice versa!) When you’re training for a marathon or any other competition, jumping in the pool can offer you an extra edge over your competitors and improve your overall athleticism.

Related: A Beginners Guide To Strength Training

6. It Makes You Smarter

brain-activity

Your brain loves swimming. The extra blood and oxygen helps you become more alert, awake, and focused. It releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones in our body. The graphic above shows how the brain literally lights up in more areas even after a 20-minute walk. The same thing happens when you swim!

Swimming requires your mind to make neural muscular adjustments to imbalances created from continuous movement through the water. As a result swimming improves dynamic balance and coordination, reflexes, bone density and muscular endurance.

Related: The Amazing Health Benefits of Swimming

7. It’s Muscle Lengthening

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If you’re worried about bulking up (which you shouldn’t be), then consider swimming. Swimming combines resistance training with cardio, building lean muscle and boosting your metabolism. It also puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.

8. It Improves Your Ability To Stay Calm

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Swimming is meditative. Swimming boosts endorphins that increase feelings of wellbeing. Plus the rhythmic strokes and sound of water make swimming much more relaxing. It’s been shown that swimming produces the same relaxation responses as yoga, and the stretching and contracting of muscles can heighten this experience.

Related: 10 Steps To Swimming Smarter Freestyle

Swimming not only helps with general physical fitness, but it encompasses a host of other benefits such as muscle toning, breath control, and meditative qualities. It’s a total body workout that is low-impact on your joints and also stretches your body—something it probably doesn’t get enough of.

For unlimited swim workouts, training plans and drills right on your iPhone, Android or Smartwatchclick here to start your free 7-day trial of MySwimPro Premium!

35 thoughts on “8 Benefits of Swimming You Probably Didn’t Know

  1. I am 70 and have been swimming since competing in college. I am within 5 lbs of my college weight. I can no longer run (ankles and knees) but still love a good workout in the pool.

  2. I have been swimming in the local pool for over 30 yrs, I am now 54 yrs old. I swim 3 miles a wk, plus jog, cycle, & go to the gym. My heart rate can be 36 at rest, but mostly in the 40’s.
    I started swimming because I had a torn ligament to my foot and was told it would help with a faster recovery. I started doing a few lengths & progressed from there.

  3. I love swimming being that I’m heavier than average. Just got this app for my Apple Watch 2 to track my progress. Can’t wait to dive in and get some data btw I’m 450lbs I usually do 3.2k trying to get lower in weight. I’ve gotten RHR in the upper 40s so far

  4. Great article👍🏽 I recently discovered a love for swimming due to a knee injury. It’s the only cardio and physical rehab I’m getting currently which has been a complete life saver!

  5. Hi Myswimpro . I have been swimming all my life . I have been swimming intensely and really love it. Have started ocean swimming and it is a different ball game as there is on black line like in the pool . I am looking for a swim mate or a friend that i can talk about swimming and different places where we swim . Regards Pete

  6. Hello everyone, I am 31 years old male and been swimming regularly only for 1 year now. Hope I can get better especially at resistance as am only able to do 50 m stretches at a time. Anyway it really feels great to be swimming 3 times a week, looking forward to getting some useful tips from this app!!

    Cheers !!

  7. I work out six days a week for an hour and a half I have four children that took swimming lessons I never did I’m a poor swimmer and I want to learn to swim better by the way I’m 78

  8. Hi I am 12 years old I’ve been swimming for almost a year. When I read this I didn’t even know half the stuff thanks for the info 😋

  9. Hi I use to be in a swim team as a child and would love to swim as part of my regular workout, where do I start? I’m slow and heavy, what’s a good time frame for beginners? Do I swim before weights or after?

    1. Hi Emilie! Thanks so much for your message! That’s exciting that you’re interested in getting back into swimming. I recommend downloading our free MySwimPro app. You can use it on your iOS or Android smartphone, and even on your smart watch! Once you download the app, you’ll find many helpful training videos you can watch to improve your technique, and simple workouts that you can take with you to the pool. For a beginner, I suggest swimming before you lift weights, and try getting comfortable in the water for 15-30 minutes. Practice your flutter kick and freestyle first. Once you’re in the water for a couple days, you’ll get much more comfortable and stronger! Send us an email at contact@myswimpro.com if you have any specific questions 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Hello. It is a great article, thank you. I am pregnant and 37 years old. I swim 5 days a week for 30 min. I prefer to swim very early in the morning (6 am) before work because I feel more peaceful (there is nobody except me) and clean about the pool. I think I am a morning person 🙂

  11. I was a competitive swimmer until 14 in the late 70s and 80s. After 3 kids and other life events I am trying to lose weight and turned to swimming again. It helps that my youngest is following in my footsteps and is on a swim team. I’m loving being in the pool and around the competitive environment again.

  12. Hello – I’m curious about why it’s recommended to warm up with freestyle. I begin my workout with breaststroke. I started doing so when my shoulder was bothering me with freestyle. I’m fine now, though, and wonder if there’s a reason for starting with freestyle. BTW, I’m 72 years old and swim 1.25 mile 4 x week. I’d swim everyday if I could. I work with weights on other days for bone strength, but I’ve rediscovered my love of swimming in retirement.

    1. Hi Beth! Great question. Since freestyle is the most common stroke, a lot of athletes like to warm up with that stroke. We certainly are not opposed to warming up with other strokes. Whatever helps you prepare for a great workout, is great! I also personally like to switch up my warmups with some breaststroke, backstroke, and some underwater stretching.

      Thank you so much for your message, you are an inspiration hearing about how swimming is changing your life in retirement. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂 Happy swimming. – Paige

    2. I agree with you . There is no valid reason to start the warm up with the free style . In fact , it shpuld start with few flutter kicks , few drills , followed by back stroke & breast stroke . The good news is , Myswimpro allows you to create your own sequence of the sets .

  13. I am so happy I came across this article. It is the reminder I needed as to why swimming has always been my go to exercise when life feels out of control especially after a long winter.

    Thank you for the reminder of why I should be consistent with it.

  14. Determination
    Goal setting
    Goal getter
    Self responsibility
    Self respect
    Self awareness
    encouraging association
    Focus
    Personal Continuos Learning
    Self Discipline
    Self Discovery of inner strength
    Intrinsic Positive Self Talk
    I can, I will. I shall Attitude
    Self evolution
    Powerful body, mind and Spirit balance
    Authenticity
    Accountability
    Concentration
    Meditation of Spiritual meaning
    Communication skills Within waves of sound
    to be a truthful Brain, inspiring Brains
    Zero excuses
    Inner calm
    Inner Masterpiece to BE
    Memories achieve success in life events and transitions between each one and the external world to be respected and achieve success in life’s purpose
    Achieving positive success in life
    Today and every day to be conscious …. keep swimming!

  15. I liked it when you mentioned how swimming burns a lot of calories because of the fact that various muscles become active when a person is doing it. This will surely serve as a good way to convince my sister to have a pool constructed in the yard. She is the one who wants to get slimmer after all, and this sport will provide her what she needs. Thank you!

  16. I was an avid swimmer up until my 40’s. After a heart attack and a kidney transplant I became ambivalent about working out. Now I am 68 years old, and had gone from 175 lbs up to 220. I went on a diet and am back in the pool found 1/2 mile 4 times a week. I have started regaining some endurance and muscle tone, despite all of the side effects of the anti rejection meds I take. Swimming is bringing me back to a healthier life!

    1. Hi Celine, that’s great! Yep we can help! Just go to the ‘More’ section in the app and adjust the pool length so it is custom to your pool. Then you can do workouts and training plans with the custom pool length. Enjoy!

  17. It sure got me when you said that a swimming workout will surely help the person as it improves the overall performance at the gym. My brother might try that out once he is “ready again” to train at the gym. For now, he needs to relax. He will still be staying at the water, but he will be tubing instead of swimming. I wonder how that works.

  18. Hi I am 33 Male , live in Malaysia, I just start swim academy , I am looking for swimming friend to practice in Kuala Lumpur Area

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