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Swim To Get Slim And Have A Whole Lot Of Fun

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 The summers in NCR need no introduction; with temperatures hovering in the high 40s, one either heads for the hills or dips in the nearest pool to cool off.  Kids need no extra push to high dive into the blues; they can spend hours frolicking around till they turn into prunes. It’s not exercise for them, yet the innumerable medical benefits on kids cannot be negated.

A study by the Salk Institute showed that swimming:

  • Enhances mood – Kids learn better when they are in a good mood
  • Boosts levels of neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is essential for the growth of brain cells
  • Stimulates birth of new neurones
  • Enhances brain plasticity for agile learning and thinking
  • Channels energy, making them less hyper and more focuse
  • Increases strength and makes them more self-confident

Swimming, however, has more to it than adding some cool fun to hot summer days for adults.  Did you know that a person weighing 60-70kgs can burn up to 750 calories with 1 hour of freestyle swimming? 

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Swimming is one of the most intense yet enjoyable forms of aerobic activity that strengthens your skeletal system and muscles whilst having the least impact on your joints, making it one of the best forms of exercise for adults.  When the human body is submerged in water, it automatically becomes lighter, bearing just 50% of its weight when immersed to the waist or 30% when water is up to chest level.

As we age, bone strength and muscle tone weakens by 10% every 10 years after the age of 30. This is more pronounced in women, as hormonal imbalances, first during pregnancy, then during menopause, accelerates the depletion of calcium and iron in the body.  Swimming is a great way to increase muscle strength and tone – far more effectively than weight-bearing gym machines – as the action that involves propelling the body through the water is a resistance-based exercise.

Unlike gym-based machines that tend to isolate and work on one body part at a time, swimming involves a broad range of motions that keep joints loose and flexible. And not just that, each stroke helps lengthen and give a good stretch from head to toe.

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But what’s most important is that it strengthens the most important muscle in the body – the heart. As an intensely aerobic exercise, it increases the heart rate, making it more efficient in pumping blood throughout your body. Just 30 minutes of swimming a day have been proven to reduce the possibility of coronary heart disease in women significantly.

But what if one does not know to swim? That’s ok too.  There’s still a lot you can do in the pool. Stay toward the midline with the water up to chest level and just walk.  The resistance of walking in water as opposed to walking on land is in itself a good cardio workout.  Heard of aquaerobics?  That’s aerobics in water. This is especially beneficial as unlike regular aerobics doing lunges, squats and knee lifts not only feel a lot easier while being intense but is extremely gentle on the joints and bones of the hips, knee and ankles and back. Or how about a game of throw-ball in the pool?  It’s not just a great workout but also one that can be done for fun and in a group.

So just head to the nearest pool 3-4 times a week; it’s a cool way to get fit.

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