*This post is geared to those with more intense training regimes.
Swimming is by far the best active recovery workout known to mankind. It does not matter if you’re good at swimming or not, you can benefit from some time in the water. The hardest part is jumping in, but once you start making swimming a habit you will see some immediate improvements on your recovery and in time muscle growth.
Why am I so confident that swimming is the best? I have personally tried other methods such as running, biking, jump roping, and even just doing nothing but swimming by far is the best method of recovery. Ok so what’s my reasoning? I’ll tell you!
Reasons Why Swimming = Best Recovery Method
- Swimming engages all parts of your body: legs, arms, torso, neck, etc and the more muscle groups you can engage, the better you can rid yourself of soreness and lactic acid.
- Build heart rate faster: most people don’t swim often and this means that most people are out of swimming shape. This is good because swimming will cause a non-swimmer to have a quicker heart rate response from exertion. Faster heart rates means that more blood is being circulated to your muscles which will help carry out the waste and lactic acid faster.
- Swimming is like active stretching: You could try and do a different recovery exercise and then stretch, but why bother when you could do both at the same time! Swimming forces your body to stretch out your muscles in a way most activities cannot. I have especially noticed a quicker recovery from swimming after a chest workout. The strokes in swimming stretch out the chest and shoulders very well.
- Low Stress on body: Swimming is a fantastic recovery exercise for all ages due to the low amounts of stress it places on one’s body. Swimming is often used for physical therapy because of this but is useful to help recuperate uninjured athletes as well.
- Lung Capacity: as well as helping to increase heart rate, holding your breath for swimming will build lung capacity. Lung capacity will help you in any exercise you do. More lung capacity, more oxygen to your body, and a stronger, more intense you. Sure you could hold your breath while running, but let’s be honest you’ll look a little ridiculous.
- Swimming cleans you up: So I’m not going to tell you that swimming means you don’t have to take any more showers…but let’s just say sometimes it makes taking a shower after working out unnecessary. If you’re a busy college student like me, then sometimes you need all the time you can get. Swimming for recovery allows you to save time, simple as that.
- Relax the mind, relax the body: It’s been said that relaxation helps circulate blood which is why doing an easy post-workout exercise is important. This is my opinion but swimming is very relaxing and helps “reset” your body for the recovery process.
The main point to take away from this article is that swimming can monumentally benefit your overall fitness and muscle growth. The one thing you want to make sure to do is to maintain a slightly increased heart rate for 7-15 minutes after a hard workout. This cooling down process has been tried and tested for me personally from years from competitive college swimming. Start swimming nice easy laps and truly see the drastic advantages!
For more articles from Ben check out http://www.bodyathleticsblog.com