5 Ways Swimming Helps Athletes
Swimming Can Help Athletes in Any Sport
How athletes train for their respective sport can vary greatly. Baseball players don’t have to prepare their bodies for the heavy collisions football players do. Basketball players don’t have to prepare their bodies to endure the elements like soccer or football players do. Each sport has unique training methods. However, swimming may be a training element that can help all athletes, regardless of sport.
The buoyancy of water greatly affects the level of coordination and movement required to operate within this environment. There is less pressure applied to your joints and muscles, yet there is more resistance for movement because water is denser than air. This presents an interesting opportunity for athletes preparing for their upcoming seasons.
Stepping into a pool provides much more perks outside of just cooling down on a hot day. Exercising in water has countless benefits for any athlete.
One of the most important aspects of any athlete when it comes to playing a sport is their recovery. After spending hours performing at the highest level, they are expected to bounce back and do it all over again a week later for football players to even the next day for baseball players. If they aren’t able to recover in time, their performance will likely suffer, and there is a higher chance they can sustain a serious injury.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise. The water’s buoyancy protects your joints and muscles from heavy impact felt on land. Athletes dealing with chronic injury may find pain relief while exercising in water.
A study published by the International Journal of Sports Medicine focused on the recovery and performance of nine top triathletes. All of them went through an interval run of 8 x 3 minutes at 85% to 90% peak velocity twice. Ten hours after their run, some laid down while others swam 2,000 meters for the same amount of time. Another 14 hours after that, they performed a high-intensity run until fatigue to measure their performance after recovery.
The researchers found that even though there was no significant difference in how the athletes perceived their recovery, there was a 14% improvement in run time for those who recovered with swimming – 13:50 versus 12:08. This helps highlight that not only does swimming help prevent injuries by being low impact, but it also improves recovery.
Strengthens Lung Capacity
Swimmers spend a great deal of their time underwater, so being able to hold their breath for an extended period is crucial to their performance. Because of how swimmers move through the water, their breathing must also be controlled as well. While they swim, their heads move above and below the surface of the water. They must be able to strategically breathe to ensure they perform at their best.
Swimmers are required to perform high-intensity workouts without the limitless amounts of air that land athletes have. Thus, their lung capacity will significantly increase. This strengthened lung capacity will also improve their performance on land as they will have a near limitless supply of oxygen. There are further studies that prove the connection between swimming and improved lung capacity.
Controlling your breathing is also crucial to ensure your body stays at peak performance. As you learn to control your breathing, you will also be able to better regulate your heart rate. Following an intense workout, controlled breathing allows you to lower your heart rate much quicker than before. Swimming helps athletes train their breathing to get the most out of their performance.
What makes swimming such a great exercise is that it involves every muscle in your body. When swimming, the kicking motion used to propel you forward activates and strengthens your core much quicker than weight training. Your core strength is incredibly important in sports that your posture and balance are necessary to the performance of your game.
Golfers and baseball players need their core strength to help keep their body aligned to produce a powerful swing of a club or a bat. Gymnasts need a strong core to help them keep their balance and stay upright when performing. Having good core strength helps athletes transfer power from their lower body to upper body and vice versa.
One exercise to isolate your core is by using a flotation device to keep your upper body up while you kick your legs to push yourself forward. You are getting a great exercise even though it doesn’t feel like it since working out in water is less painful and tiresome.
Boost Cardiovascular Endurance
When an athlete is preparing for the start of a new season, they are focusing less on workouts specific to their sport and more on simply getting back into shape. They have to improve your cardiovascular endurance through different training techniques. While many athletes utilize running and cycling as a way to improve their endurance, these can be detrimental as they impact your joints and muscles.
As we have mentioned previously, swimming is a low-impact exercise that does not stress your body. Many athletes aren’t used to swimming, so they will be giving their body a new challenge to overcome and deal with.
Many athletes view swimming as purely a cardio exercise, but that is far from the case. Water is denser than air, which makes it harder for you to move through it. Due to this, swimming and water exercises are a form of resistance training. All of the muscles in your body are needed for you to move through the water. This allows you to build long, lean muscle. Your arms build muscle with your strokes, and your lower body gets stronger as you kick.
Certain swimming styles help you strengthen specific muscles, and these muscles boost your metabolism. Swimming allows you to build healthy muscle without putting stress on your joints.
Swimming has been long known to be a great exercise throughout the world. However, athletes of other sports could greatly benefit from adding swimming to their training regime. It helps prevent injuries and helps with recovery. You can even improve your breathing and muscle growth. Having a pool allows you to help any athlete, young or old. Contact Mid City Custom Pools to learn about our pool offers.