There are many sports with which important benefits can be achieved, spinning being a clear example. Another clear example is swimming. In fact, doctors usually recommend this discipline to their patients, whatever the ailment they are suffering from.
This is not surprising, given the long list of benefits it rewards sportsmen and women who do it once or twice a week. However, following the example of almost all sports, swimming is not free of contraindications, which you should be aware of.
Benefits of swimming
First of all, it is important to mention the joints, which suffer very little as they are not subject to wear and tear. This is due to the fact that it is a very low impact sport thanks to the density of the water. Unlike other sports such as CrossFit, where injuries are common, the opposite is true for those who swim in the pool or in the sea.
By exercising them regularly you will ensure that the various joints that are used for swimming remain in very good condition over the years.
Of course, your joints are not the only parts of your body that benefit greatly from regular swimming. Other parts of your body that benefit greatly are your muscles, which become much more elastic.
As a result, your body will become more flexible, with all the advantages that this brings. The range of movement will become considerably wider, which is a great advantage in swimming as well as in other sports and in your day-to-day life in general.
On the other hand, it is remarkable the great improvement of those athletes who have a bad blood circulation. Of course, in case the venous return is already good, it is improved even more, thus benefiting people of advanced and middle age, young people and, in short, any swimming enthusiast.
This is the result of the blood activation that occurs in the aquatic environment, a situation that is due both to the density of the liquid element - performing a kind of massage on the lower trunk that stimulates blood circulation - and to the vasodilation that occurs on coming into contact with water that is at a lower temperature than the body.
The improvement in blood circulation is also due to the reduction of bad cholesterol, which is so harmful to health. Fortunately, by swimming regularly enough, you will regain optimal levels of this marker that is so important in blood tests.
At the same time, it is remarkable how much you can lose weight by swimming, especially if you do it two or three times a week. And no wonder, as this is one of the sports disciplines that burns the most calories.
The number of kilocalories expended varies depending on the stroke practised. For example, with the crawl, you will burn around 700 calories per hour of physical exercise if you swim at a considerable pace. Swimming backstroke will burn considerably less - about 450 - but by combining different strokes you can easily lose four or five kilos in a couple of months without depriving yourself of anything in your diet.
One of the reasons there are so many swimmers is related to the benefits they get in their daily lives. This is evidenced by the increase in endurance that already occurs with all sports, but in this case it is even more noticeable.
The vast majority of the benefits we are describing are noticeable in a very short time, but in this case it takes a few more weeks. We are referring to the increase in the capacity of your lungs to oxygenate your body.
If you don't usually practice sport, you will notice the lack of air after starting to swim, ending up exhausted without being able to complete the session you had planned at the beginning. But if you swim a couple of times a week, the situation will change drastically until you can go for quite a while without breathing thanks to the increased volume of air in your lungs.
It is worth noting that the lung-related advantage also leads to another benefit to be taken into account: memorisation improves because the brain becomes significantly more oxygenated.
Still on the subject of the lungs, it cannot be overlooked how much people affected by asthma improve. Exactly the same is true for other respiratory conditions.
As if all of the above were not enough, there are also the benefits for your mind, starting with the release of serotonin, which will make you feel happier. The feeling of sadness, if you have it, will become history along with stress and anxiety.
In addition, the enormous improvement experienced by people with low self-esteem is remarkable. Two aspects help this to happen: you will have a more toned and athletic body, as well as realising how in a matter of a few months you can swim more metres at a faster speed.
Contraindications of swimming
Swimming is not the only sport that, despite having countless benefits, is not suitable for everyone. There are contraindications that you should consider and, if you have any doubts, consult a health professional who will determine whether or not you can practise this discipline.
For example, if you have inflammation of the ears, nose or pharynx, you should not even go into the water, as contact with it could worsen your condition, which is usually caused by an infection.
Exactly the same precaution should be taken if you suffer from a skin condition, for example a rash. In this case the water may not harm you, but you should be examined by a dermatologist to make sure.
Another contraindication, perhaps one of the most important, refers to any illness where you may temporarily lose consciousness, which is common for epileptics. If someone does not supervise the person in question at all times, he or she will not be able to swim.
On the other hand, although swimming is of great benefit to asthmatics, swimming should be avoided altogether if there is a flare-up of asthma or of another illness that could also make swimming enthusiasts worse: bronchitis.
Finally, please note that, although swimming is very good for joint and even back pain, there is a contraindication for one particular stroke: the crawl. You should not do it if you suffer from lumbago, as it will worsen this localised pain.
If you do not suffer from any of these diseases or conditions, you are in luck, as you can practice one of the most beneficial sports that exist without any problems. But that doesn't mean you will never have any kind of adversity or injury. To reduce your chances of injury as much as possible, remember to stretch before you start your physical activity in the water.