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Some surprising facts about the benefits of swimming

swimming as exercise

Beneficial Effects Of Swimming

Swimming offers a great deal of health benefits to people of all ages. It helps you to make your muscles stronger, feel better and look younger. Swimming offers something that other aerobic exercises cannot: the ability to work out without causing harsh impacts to your musculoskeletal system.

Here are some of the health benefits that swimming can provide to you:

#1: As swimming is a very low impact exercise, it is ideal for people who are overweight or have arthritis. They can easily workout their sore joints and stiff muscles. When your body is in water, the weight borne by the joints become less. If you are immersed up to the:

  • Waist – your joints take 50 percent of the weight
  • Chest – the weight taken by joints reduces to 25 to 35 percent
  • Neck – joints have to bear just 10 percent of your body weight

#2: Swimming helps to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance as it is an aerobic exercise. According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise like swimming on a daily basis helps to reduce coronary heart disease by 30 to 40 percent in women. In a study, sedentary men and women who were middle-aged were given 12 weeks of swimming training. The results of the study showed a 10 percent increase in maximal oxygen consumption and an 18 percent improvement in the heart stroke volume in the subjects.

#3: Swimming helps to improve muscle strength and tone more than many other aerobic exercises. This is because you will be propelling yourself through water which is twelve times denser than air and, therefore, each kick and stroke you perform provides resistance exercise, building muscle strength and tone. Swimming has also been seen to be helpful in improving bone strength in post-menopausal women. A study involving men showed that their triceps muscle increased as much as 23.8 percent after eight weeks swimming training.

#4: Swimming also provides weight loss benefits as it helps to burn at least 500 to 650 calories per hour, depending on your buoyancy and the intensity of swimming you involve in. If you have more body fat, you will float more and spend fewer calories when swimming. Research studies reveal that swimming, irrespective of the stroke, helps to burn about 89 percent of the calories that you burn during running and 97 percent of the calories you burn during cycling, if done for the same period of time. In general, the calories you can burn in 10 minutes depending on stroke are as follows:

  • Breast stroke – 60 calories
  • Backstroke – 80 calories
  • Freestyle – 100 calories
  • Butterfly stroke – 150 calories

#5: Exercise machines in gyms provide workout for body parts separately. For example, the bicep curl machine exercises only a specific group of muscles. On the other hand, swimming involves a wide range of motions which helps to keep ligaments and joints flexible. In swimming, the arms are moved in wide arcs, the head as well as the spine is twisted from one side to another and the hips are moved as the legs cut through the water. In addition, swimming provides a good stretch from the head to the toe.

The most popularly used swimming stroke is freestyle. The muscles that are exercised when you do freestyle swimming include hand muscles, forearm flex muscles, forearm extensor muscle, biceps, triceps, shoulder muscles, neck muscles, chest muscles, side muscles, outer abdominal muscles, abdominal muscles, back muscles, spinal cord support muscles, core muscles, buttocks muscles, groin muscles, front upper leg muscles, back upper leg muscles, calf muscles, shin muscles and foot muscles.

#6: When swimming, you will be exercising in moist air conditions. It is different from the dry air that in gyms and you don’t have to contend with frigid winter air or seasonal allergies. This helps to reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms. A study published in Respirology, a scholarly journal, showed that a group of children who completed six weeks of swimming training experienced improvements in asthma symptom severity, mouth-breathing, snoring and emergency room visits. Additionally, swimming helps to improve blood cholesterol levels, lower the risk of contracting diabetes and reduce stress.

Gentle exercise to your whole body

Summarizing, swimming helps you to exercise your whole body. It is physically demanding and combines cardio workout with strength training. As it does not cause any impact to your joints, you can continue to swim for a lifetime. In fact, swimming is considered as the fountain of youth. It has been observed that people who swim on a regular basis generally live longer.

Important Ergonomics while working at a desk

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correct-posture-for-sitting-infront-of-a-computer

Prevent injuries by applying correct ergonomics

You may be aware that it is not healthy to sit at a desk and work for long hours. Though you may not be able to completely avoid doing it for various reasons, you can do certain things to counter its negative effects. Whether you are sitting throughout day, staring at the computer screen and ruining your eyes or damaging your wrists by using a keyboard, office work is more dangerous than you would like to think. It may not seem to be so, but the inactivity can cause some serious problems.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics refers to the study of interaction between you and the objects you use and the environment in which you work. Therefore, workstations, equipment and other work methods need to be designed to suit the capabilities and limitations of employees so that their health, performance and safety can be maximized. In short, ergonomics is all about fitting the task to a person.

How to Sit When Working At A Desk

Sitting at work continuously for long hours and using computers involves repetition, forceful exertions and awkward postures and can cause nerve, tendon, muscle and ligament damage. Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, you can avoid injuries by properly setting up your workstation, correcting your posture and taking rest breaks frequently.

If the workstation is not properly set up, you will hunch over, slouch, strain or twist which will result in musculoskeletal injuries. Therefore, you must use a chair that adapts to your body conditions. It should be stable, adjustable and have a backrest that supports your lower back’s curve. When working on the computer, you should sit back.

According to experts, you must be able to horizontally position your thighs with knees and hips at the same level. Your feet should rest comfortably on a footrest or the floor. Your arms should be resting on adjustable arm rests such that your elbows are close to your waist.

Center the keyboard such that your elbows stay close to your body and perpendicular to the floor in an open angle to enable proper blood circulation to lower hands and arms.

In order to assume the right sitting posture and keep your neck and straight, it is important to properly position the computer’s monitor. This helps to prevent strain to your eyes, shoulder fatigue and neck pain. Experts say that the monitor should be about an arm’s length away at eye level.

Take Rest Breaks

Your sitting posture may be perfect, but your body is not made to remain inactive for long hours at a stretch. You may feel uncomfortable when you sit for long at the work desk. Therefore, it is important that you take breaks on a regular basis. Occasionally shift your seated position, stand up and stretch whenever you start feeling tired.

You can take a break every 30 minutes and stretch your legs for a couple of minutes. This helps your muscles in the neck, shoulders, wrists, back, hands and legs to relax and relieve the stress caused when you sit still for too long.

Basic Stretches

Stand up and rock your pelvis forward and backward to avoid lower spine stiffness. Standing up also resets the spinal tension caused by sitting. Do simple leg stretches to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Stretch your arms over the head. Tilt your head on to one side, hold and relax. Repeat on the other side. Lift shoulders towards your ears, hold and relax. Rotate your wrists in both directions.

Summarizing, a workstation that is properly set up allows you sit in a natural or neutral and relaxed position and prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Incorporating an activity schedule, either before you start or after you stop working, would help avoid lifestyle diseases that prolonged sitting may lead you to.

basic-stretches

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