The Health Benefits of Swimming for Adults

Many people think of Foss Swim School as a youth program, but did you know we offer swim lessons for adults as well? These lessons tend to be more customized to the needs and interests of the swimmer and so don’t appear as a distinct level on our Swim Path, but if you are an adult who wants to learn to swim or improve your form, we’re here to help.

We recognize that what motivates adults to learn or improve swim skills is related to health. That’s different than what is often at the top of the list for parents selecting a swim school for their kids (although some top reasons, like safety and confidence engaging in water activities, do transcend age.) We even have a teaching approach specifically tailored to teaching adults to swim, outlined here by our co-founder Jon Foss. So with adult health in mind, we asked some of FOSS’ instructors with experience coaching and training swimmers what the biggest health benefits of swimming are.

  • Swimming cardio benefits:

    One of the clearest health benefits of swimming is the way it strengthens the cardiovascular system. Whether a beginner or advanced, the very nature of swimming, with its focus on breath control and simultaneous motion of nearly all major muscle groups gets blood pumping, strengthens the heart, and improves lung capacity. Even better, it is low-impact cardio, making it perfect for the large number of adults who have joint and back pain that makes other forms of cardio exercise (like running and aerobics) difficult.

  • Swimming for strength and muscle tone:

    Swimming isn’t a good way to build bulky muscles, but for toning and good general physical strength a swim program can play an important role. Although it’s often thought of as cardio exercise – which it is – swimming is also resistance training, with the effort of moving water as you push yourself forward providing the resistance.

  • Swimming for cross-training:

    People seeking peak physical benefits from exercise will often cross train, engaging in multiple activities, but swimming is almost always a good complement for any sport or training regimen because it works all muscle groups and strengthens cardiovascular health.

  • Mental benefits of swimming:

    Like all exercise, swimming releases endorphins and has been linked to reducing stress, improving self esteem and other positive benefits. Studies have found a link between swimming in particular and improved psychological tone, and a clinical trial is underway to see if swimming can have an impact on depression and anxiety.

  • Swimming for weight loss:

    Losing weight is generally a multi-dimensional activity, involving diet and exercise. The heart rate achieved by the exercise is key – low rates may only burn glucose, but the “fat-burning” heart rate zone is higher. Swimming is a good way to achieve a high heart rate. It can be fairly strenuous, and different strokes burn calories at different rates, allowing you to scale up and down during a workout. Consult an expert to design a workout for your goals.

  • Swimming as a lifelong healthy activity:

    The benefits of swimming everyday, whether swimming laps in a pool or getting out on a lake or other body of water are hard to overstate. But even if its just an occasional form of exercise, the great thing about swimming is that it is a lifelong activity. It requires no special equipment, and if you have access to a pool indoors it can be practiced year round. People often age out of other activities as their bodies change, but swimming remains a good exercise choice for people of a wide age range.

So why wouldn’t you swim for health?

Most often, the answer we get from adults is that it is too late to learn swimming, and they no longer have the physique to take it up. Our trainers and instructors promise that this isn’t true. While a person may need to build up their strength and stamina, the process of learning to swim does that naturally. It’s also encouraging to remember that the human body is physiologically well adapted for swimming. Most of the time, we just need to help people change how they think about swimming.

Curious about how you can enjoy the physical benefits of swimming? Want to learn more about our offering for adults? Don’t hesitate to call, and we’ll see you at the pool!

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