The health benefits of swimming

Updated: Mar 18

The health benefits of swimming. Picture taken during a Swimclan session at Scarborough Beach Pool, Perth, Western Australia.
Swimclan members Becca Sayers, Jamie Bagby and Bex Kirke at Scarborough Beach Pool

Ever wanted to lose weight, prevent your risk of chronic diseases, improve your mental health or get ripped without pumping weights?

Not only does swimming simultaneously provide more than just these benefits, it's a sport that works your body from head to toe, without the major soreness that follows a land or gym-based workout.

Rather than your joints taking up most of the impact which occurs during workouts on land, the water does this for you. It's why swimming is a sport for life and is highly recommended by health professionals, regardless of your age, health, experience or abilities.

It's also one of the highest calorie burners given it's a full body workout. Swimclan's Martin Smoothy, lost over 35kg in less than 12 months from just one swim session per day.

The biggest catch? He didn't change his diet. In fact, Martin ended up eating more food during that time and the weight still fell off him due to his high calorie burning!

The magical benefits of swimming seem to go on forever like Mary Poppins bag, but we've compiled some of the best findings for you below, backed up by recent scientific studies.

Swimming is a sport for life that can be attempted at any age, regardless of your fitness, age or abilities. Swimming can also decrease your risk or chronic diseases.
Swimming can provide health benefits to everyone, regardless of your age, ability or experience.

1. Swimming is low impact

Most of you would have experienced going to the gym after a lengthy absence, pumped out some weights and genuinely thought the soreness would end you over the next few days. Leg days and stairs are the worst combination since toothpaste and orange juice.

Yes, any exercise is good exercise. But weight training, cycling, running, kayaking, rowing, cross-fit, boxing and many other popular land-based workouts will leave you feeling sore, especially until your body adapts.

Why is swimming a great option? Because the water is supporting your weight, this takes an enormous amount of pressure off your joints and muscles. Your body is also pushing against the resistance of water, providing a greater workout with reduced repercussions.

Even though the body impact is lowered considerably, the heart rate stays high and allows a solid cardiovascular workout. It's also the best way to tone your muscles as nearly all are contracting at a sustainable, yet repetitive pressure.

Swimming is a great form of exercise as it reduces the amount of pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. It's the perfect low impact exercise.
Swimming is a great workout that's easier on your joints and muscles.

2. Best exercise for toning muscles

Where runners see isolated muscle build in their legs, swimmers will utilise and strengthen more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs are kicking, the arms are pulling. As your shoulders and hips rotate, your core muscles such as the abdominals will tighten and stabilise to power the legs.

It's why Olympic level swimmers who train upwards of eight swim sessions per week look like chiseled muscular sculptures from Michelangelo. Their muscles are constantly working out aerobically with fast, repetitive contractions before stretching out. It's why swimmers are the most toned athletes on the planet.

Swimming is one of the best ways to tone your muscles and lose weight. If you want to lose weight and get shredded, swimming is a great low-impact form of exercise.
Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and Cate Campbell have incredible muscle definition from years of swimming.

3. Swimming builds up bone mass

For years, scientists scoffed at the idea that swimming positively affected bone mass. It was believed for decades that only weight-bearing exercises were able to achieve this benefit.

According to recent studies, there is strong evidence proving that long-term adherence to swimming is one of the best exercises as treatment for osteoporosis. The study discovered that older populations who swim regularly increased their bone mass density over time.

Studies have also shown that swimming improves cardiopulmonary function and the body's antioxidant capacity while reducing the blood lipid levels.

It's why swimming is favoured by most health professionals as the best exercise for the elderly population who are most at risk to chronic diseases.

Swimming is found to positively affect bone mass density for those who may struggle with osteoporosis. Swimming can also greatly benefit the older population as it is a low-impact way of exercising the joints, ligaments and tendons of the body.