Swimming: Where Mobility Meets Cardio

Enhance your cardiovascular health with swimming exercises. Understand the health benefits of swimming and why you should take it up.

By URLife Team
27 Jan 2024

If your cardio routine has lost its spark, consider swimming. As a low-impact sport, it injects vitality into your workout regimen, presenting a host of benefits that might just entice you to make it your new cardio favourite. Before you don your swimwear and dive into the pool, it's crucial to acquaint yourself with the essentials of swimming for fitness.


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Swimming as Cardiovascular Exercise

As per a 2009 report published in the journal Sport Medicine, swimming stands as a tough cardiovascular exercise, engaging numerous large muscle groups in a harmonious, continuous rhythm. The concerted effort of these muscle groups necessitates your heart to labour in pumping oxygen throughout your body, leading to an increased heart rate and a breathless sensation. Beyond its cardiovascular benefits, swimming also incorporates an element of muscular endurance, demanding your muscles to sustain activity over extended periods, especially when navigating lap after lap.


According to a 2023 study issued in the journal Science & Sports, while there are instances, such as in workouts focused on fast sprints, where swimming can serve as a dual-purpose activity, contributing to both strength training and power building, the predominant classification for swimming is as a cardio workout. The immersive nature of swimming, with its blend of muscle engagement and cardiovascular demands, positions it as a holistic exercise that not only challenges the heart but also enhances muscular endurance through sustained effort.


Related story: Should I be Doing Cardio Before Weights?


How often should one swim?

When venturing into the water, initiate your swimming journey gradually and ease into a routine that suits you. Swimming, being a demanding sport, can pose challenges even for the most conditioned athletes, including marathoners and avid cyclists. Begin with manageable 20- to 30-minute sessions, tackling one length at a time. Over time, incrementally extend both the duration and distance of your swims, striving for consistency in your routines.


  • As for essential gear, a comfortable and secure swimsuit is a non-negotiable item. Opt for one that fits snugly to eliminate concerns about it slipping during your swim. 
  • Generally, one-piece suits offer enhanced comfort and ease of movement compared to two-piece alternatives. It's worth noting that the type of suit suitable for active swimming may differ from those worn for leisurely poolside lounging – having separate suits for each purpose is perfectly acceptable.
  • Investing in goggles with adjustable nose pieces is advisable, allowing for a customised fit that reduces the risk of leakage. 
  • Swimming caps are recommended, particularly for those who wish to keep their hair in check while in the water. Silicone swim caps, preferred over latex and cloth counterparts, offer greater comfort and effectiveness in keeping water out and minimising drag. 
  • Additionally, consider acquiring a pair of fins to naturally enhance your kicking technique as you progress in your swimming endeavours.


Related story: Is HIIT The cardio Workout For Your or LISS


Health Benefits of Swimming

A 2017 study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular swimming contributes to increased longevity and aids older individuals in maintaining both mental and physical fitness. Equally significant is the finding that participation in swimming lessons yields developmental advantages for children. Those engaged in swimming lessons exhibit accelerated progress in physical, cognitive, and social skills compared to their counterparts who do not partake in such lessons.


Additionally, here’s a list of ten compelling mental and physical benefits of swimming, giving you ample reasons to embrace pool time as a valuable addition to your schedule. Dive into the details to ensure you're well-prepared for a refreshing and rewarding swim.


1. Improves lungs health

Swimming stands out as exceptional cardiovascular exercise, making it a powerful contributor to the health of your  lungs. A 2013 study published in the International Educational E-Journal, focusing on healthy students aged 17 to 22, reported a significant increase in lung functioning following an eight-week swimming program. These findings underscore the transformative impact of swimming on respiratory health, highlighting its potential to strengthen the pulmonary system.


Related story: 6 Strategies For Taking Care of Your Lungs


2. Offers complete body workout

The density of water is nearly 800 times that of air. For those looking to build muscle, it’s the ideal environment. Described as a "total-body strengthener", swimming demands the activation of muscles across your legs, torso, and arms to maintain proper body positioning in various strokes. The targeted muscle engagement in swimming encompasses the shoulders, triceps, lats, obliques, abs, quads, and calves, making it a comprehensive workout.


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3. Helps keep heart strong

Engaging in swimming offers a notable advantage in cardiovascular health. A 2023 study by Cleveland Clinic indicated a 41 per cent lower risk of death due to heart disease or stroke among swimmers compared to non-swimmers. This significant risk reduction underscores the positive impact of swimming on the cardiovascular system, emphasising its role in promoting heart health. Moreover, swimming emerges as a viable option for individuals undergoing cardiac rehabilitation. In fact, swimming can be done by those recovering from heart failure or coronary artery disease. 


4. Burns calorie and helps in weight loss

Swimming, as a cardiovascular exercise, proves to be an effective way to burn calories and facilitate weight loss. According to a 2023 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person weighing 69 kg can burn approximately 255 calories by engaging in slow freestyle laps for 30 minutes. However, the calorie-burning effect is influenced by factors such as individual weight, swimming speed, and the specific stroke being used. Different strokes and intensities will result in varied calorie expenditure.


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5. Muscle Building with Water Resistance

Swimming stands out as an excellent means of building muscle strength, thanks to the inherent resistance that water provides. As you swim, the resistance of the water engages various muscle groups, promoting both aerobic capacity and muscular strength simultaneously. The continuous effort required to move through water places a demand on muscles throughout the body, leading to comprehensive muscle engagement. This dual benefit of cardiovascular enhancement and muscular development makes swimming a dynamic and efficient workout for building strength and achieving overall fitness goals.


Related Story: Bulking and Cutting: Ways To Get More Muscle Definition


6. Aquatherapy / Swimming as Physiotherapy

Swimming transcends its role as a mere exercise and emerges as a therapeutic modality with a spectrum of physical and mental health benefits. The unique properties of water make swimming an exceptionally versatile therapeutic activity, offering relief and improvement across various conditions. Whether it's aiding physical recovery, promoting mental well-being, or addressing specific health conditions, swimming emerges as a therapeutic endeavour that embraces the healing power of water.


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Here's how swimming serves as a therapeutic intervention:

  • Joint-Friendly Exercise: The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints, making swimming an ideal choice for individuals with arthritis or joint pain. The low-impact nature allows for increased mobility and exercise without exacerbating existing conditions.
  • Muscle Rehabilitation: The resistance of water provides a gentle yet effective environment for muscle rehabilitation. Swimming aids in building and toning muscles while accommodating various levels of strength and endurance.
  • Rehabilitation After Injury: The low-impact nature of swimming makes it suitable for rehabilitation after injuries. It allows individuals to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion without placing excessive stress on healing tissues.


For those who may be reluctant exercisers or are in the process of recovering from a heart attack or heart arrhythmia, starting small with activities such as water walking or water aerobics can be an excellent entry point. Various water activities offer valuable fitness advantages, catering to a wide range of individuals seeking to improve their fitness. 


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Seeking guidance from a healthcare professional ensures that any physical activity is safe and suitable for your individual health condition and fitness level. This proactive approach helps identify any potential risks or considerations specific to your health that should be taken into account before embarking on a new exercise routine. The collaboration with healthcare providers ensures a tailored and secure approach to incorporating swimming or any other physical activity into your lifestyle, promoting a healthy and sustainable fitness journey.

When you’re looking to take your exercise regime to the next level, head to UR.Life Studio. We are the premier destination for fitness in Hyderabad, offering customised fitness plans and more for your needs. Our team of celebrity trainers, certified nutritionists and experienced physiotherapists are here to help you unlock your full potential.

Our two locations in Jubilee and Kavuri Hills in Hyderabad offer a swimming pool, gym, spa, rehabilitation centre and cafe to ensure you reach your health objectives. Our gym offers classes in aerobics, CrossFit, Zumba, and more. Come try our world-class gym and experience the difference for yourself.



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