Swimming, The Sport That Transforms Your Body More Than You Thought
Differences in results according to style and the benefits of floating
Diving into calm waters to discover peace and get away from it all is as relaxing as a yoga class or a good massage. Apart from the known benefits of different styles, today there is a full range of classes, in the water, that constantly improve your muscle tone and reduce stress. Could it be because more than 65 percent of the body is made up of water?
Due to the pressure and the lack of gravity that we have in the water, the simple fact of the immersion provides great skeletal muscle relaxation. Who has not tried to play dead at sea? If you breathe in a relaxed way trying to remain as still as possible, you will achieve great relaxation and, you will come out of the water like new.
“The most important thing is when entering the silence of the sea or pool, we disconnect from the terrestrial world. That relationship that you establish with the water, when swimming, diving, or simply floating, gives you the opportunity to stop for a moment and abandon the thoughts that lead to worries “, points out Ángeles Linde, an INEF graduate, and instructor of aquatic activities at the Hotel Marbella Club Golf Resort & Spa.
The practice of swimming lifeguard class in its different styles is one of the most complete sports that exist since, it exercises almost the entire body obtaining toned, elongated, and very aesthetic muscles. Just one objection; you have to swim very well. The key is to know the correct way with the help of an expert so that the results are beneficial.
THE IDEAL SWIMSUIT
It must have a breathable fabric, be flexible, comfortable, and at the same time support the chest so that it does not shift. Better if the straps are wide and never tied around the neck (leave them for sunbathing bikinis). A good example is the new collection of women’s wetsuits from the Spanish firm Wetsweets (between 79 and 99 euros) made with recycled materials.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR BODY WORKS IN THE DIFFERENT SWIMMING MODALITIES?
Front crawl or freestyle
The latissimus dorsi, pectoral, deltoid, triceps, biceps, teres major, and trapezius muscles are mainly exercised. Secondary abdominals, glutes, intercostals, and quadriceps. It’s the fastest style and burns about 250 calories in 20 minutes.
It is a style very similar to the front crawl and the most appropriate for working with back problems. Although the sense of movement of the arms changes, it works muscles very similar to the front crawl, the hamstrings mainly participate in the legs and, to a lesser extent, calves and foot muscles. You will spend about 250 calories in 20 minutes.
In this modality, 50 percent of the work is done
by the legs and the other 50 by the arms. Pectorals, biceps, triceps, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius, rhomboids participate in the stroke. Leg movement is done by exercising glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. It is the easiest to maintain for a long time and burns about 360 calories in 20 minutes.
It is a variation of the breaststroke style where the biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi, pectoral, teres major, deltoids, trapezius, pectorals, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, tibialis, calf, internal rectus, adductor, and pelvic floor are strengthened. It is the hardest modality, the one that burns the most calories, and is only suitable for expert swimmers. In 20 minutes you lose more than 400 calories.
A SPORT FULL OF BENEFITS
In addition to those mentioned, sport in the water has another long list of benefits:
- As there is no joint load (the body floats in the water), the risk of injury is minimized. You can jump and run without danger.
- Promotes blood circulation and drainage. The same pressure exerted by the water when we submerge and the movement of the water itself, helps us feel lighter and reduce fluid retention.
- It is relaxing and for this reason, the practice of fashionable activities has been transferred to the aquatic environment, such as aqua-yoga or aqua-pilates.
- Although it strengthens the heart, it reduces the effort of the same exercise performed on land. Anyone can practice some exercise in the water.
- Due to the resistance exerted by water, certain movements and fitness exercises are very effective without having friction on the joints.
- Swimming increases lung capacity and cleanses the lungs by supplying more blood to the bloodstream.
- It inhibits the production of cortisol (the hormone that causes stress), by dilating the superficial vessels throughout the body.
- It favors sleep and rest and is practiced at any age.
FLOAT, THE NEW ANTI STRESS THERAPY
These are the treatments around the water that are carried out in different spas and spas.
It is a form of passive water gymnastics where the instructor gently moves the person who is floating in a heated pool, with elegant and fluid movements while listening to relaxing music. The movements through the water provide a gentle stretch in all ranges of the spine and the extremities. Juan Morales, the specialist in aquatic therapies at the Sha Wellness Clinic, explains that, with watsu, pain and anxiety are reduced, the nervous system calms and has profound effects on the neuromuscular system, increasing muscle activity since it reduces its tension.
The power of mineral-medicinal waters
The Palacio del Agua del Balneario de Mondariz (Pontevedra), is a medicinal SPA that focuses on flotation as one of the natural remedies against stress and chronic pain. In its different indoor and outdoor pool spaces, the body abandons itself to the rhythm of water filled with a large number of mineral salts that increase floatation capacity, losing track of body weight. “By immersing yourself in these baths, your body achieves a deep physical and mental relaxation thanks to the elimination of external stimuli such as gravity, light, sound, and touch”, recommends Amalia Gallego, communication director of the Spa.
According to the hydrologist, Lorena Vela (medical director of the Caldes de Boí Spa, Lleida), activities in the water reduce stress, muscle tension, heart, and respiratory rate, anxiety, fatigue, or chronic pain. “In addition, the immune system is strengthened and physical recovery is accelerated, increasing the feeling of well-being.”
BEYOND THE AQUAGYM, THIS IS THE LAST LETTER OF CLASSES IN THE WATER
Although spinning in the water is still practiced in many gyms, the new aquatic discipline recently arrived from the UK is called Aquaphysical.
“The exercises are performed on a floating mat that has been derived from the combination of surfing and paddle surfing. This new modality can be performed both outdoors and in an indoor pool and mixes typical fitness exercises (squats, sit-ups …) with Pilates or yoga. All this performed in balance on a specific mat. You will spend between 700 and 800 calories per session! “, says Marta Rico Nicolás, director of the swimming area of the David Lloyd sports club (Aravaca, Madrid).
Art of swimming
This method transfers the Alexander Technique, created at the beginning of the 20th century, to water, based on body education to gain ease of movement.
A century later, the swimmer Steven Shaw, after a serious neck and back injury, devised the Art of Swimming, which teaches that the important thing is not to swim faster but to improve the quality of each movement. This way you get a correct body alignment, breathe better and gain resistance and speed. His mother was one of his best students and thus his health improved. At 67 he learned to swim crawl and now at 75 he swims 1.5 kilometers a day.
Holmes Place gyms recommend practicing this technique for 6 weeks (2 days/week) to achieve optimal results. Improve the posture and quality of your movements in and out of the water, reduce stress, you can overcome back pain, and increase lung capacity.
In this modality of gymnastics in the pool, high-intensity interval training is performed that consists of cardiovascular work, strength, and resistance.
The advantage of doing it in the water compared to doing it dry is that it reduces the risk of injury but the resistance of the water makes it more intense. In addition, the compression of the water promotes circulation and reduces the effort on the part of the heart.
One class consumes about 500 calories and alternates high-intensity interval work with shorter recovery periods. The Clubs Metropolitan offer classes.
IF YOU SPEND HOURS IN THE WATER, DON’T FORGET …
Take care of your diet
Eulalia Vidal, an expert in nutrition and professor of Pharmacy, advises not to ingest a lot of protein, fat or fiber before doing water sports because they slow down digestion. Afterward, recover the energy consumed with pasta, tuna or chicken, fruit and isotonic drinks or protein shakes (if you train daily). “When you get out of the water you will notice that you are more thirsty, drink water and natural fruit juices”.
Rule out diseases
Get a medical check-up to verify that you do not have any infections (cystitis, sinusitis) or any ear ailments that could be worse in the water.