Swimming has always been one of my favorite full body workouts of choice. I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years and now, I am still passionate about doing a high-intensity interval swim workout, “Swim-Sanity”, at least once a week. What is so great about swimming for a workout is that it involves your whole body. You simultaneously use the upper body, core, and leg muscle to perform each of the four strokes: Freestyle, Butterfly, Backstroke, and Breaststroke. There are also many other benefits to swimming as well.
For one, it’s extremely joint friendly. If you are recovering from an injury or have aching joints, swimming allows for a way to increase your heart rate without putting pressure on your joints like running or weight lifting does. Breast Cancer patients who are currently going through treatment or are in the recovery phase of their journey can result in aching body pains that block them from being physically active. Swimming is a fantastic way to soothe the body by provided hot or cold water to the body to loosen up the tension in the muscles.
Another benefit is that swimming burns calories like crazy! Since you are not focusing on one area of body muscles, but interacting them all together, the body is able to burn a lot more calories. It is said that an hour of swimming at a slow to moderate pace burns around 500 calories.
You don’t need to be a competitive or professional swimmer to do a workout in the water. Even if you don’t know the strokes, there are a ton of water workouts you can partake in. You can use a kickboard an only use your legs while keeping your head above the water, or hand paddles an only use your arms if you want to focus on particular body group muscles. You can also use the sides of the pool to do things such as wall pushups or triceps dips. Even running in place, and if you’re feeling adventurous, adding ankle weights could be fun, effective, and exciting workouts to do in the water.
BCCA is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, where most of the year it is still warm enough to get a swim workout in at an outdoor pool. However, you can also find a local gym or facility that offers an indoor pool. When it is too cold here, I like to go to my local YMCA to use their heated pool. They even offer water aerobics and swimming classes for different age groups participate in.
Staying physically active is a wonderful way to keep your body healthy. Getting in the required amount of physical activity per week is a huge preventative for breast cancer, and can decrease breast cancer recurrence chances as well. Changing up your workout routine helps keep you motivated and makes being physically active fun. So, every once and a while trying something new. Who knows, you might even like Swim-Sanity as much as I do.