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11Dec/09Off

Wonderful water therapies – Swimming, Part 2

Alright, I just came back from a vacation and will go on to talk about different healing therapies along with my research. Sometimes,  it's not necessarily limited to Healthy Check therapies, just whatever alternative therapies I found interesting. I brought up some inspiring stories of swimming last post. Indeed, swimming has been long known for a great exercise. In the recent 20 years, it has become a physical therapy for many patients instructed by doctors. Over 60 millions of Americans take swimming as a long-term exercise for health "maintenance". In the old days of Chinese community, most people focused on working hard as their "exercise", partly because of the poverty keep them "work" hard in the farms, or as blue collar workers just to survive. Now since the society changed a lot already, people who are especially over 30-40 years old realize their health are getting worse. They need to find a better way for leisure and health purpose, which can keep them healthy even after retire.  Swimming is known as the best work out for the whole body.  So it's getting more popular in Chinese community than before.

A lot of consistent swimmers go for swimming because their health is declining, usually after 40 something, symptoms are like sore back, get tired easily, etc. Retired swimmers also go swim for social purpose as well. Repetitive movements, slow and steady breaths, the freedom and the floating force provided by water, help swimmers to feel relieved and change the mindset. Some people swim for fun immersing in the water, some swim for exercise, some people swim for stress relief. No matter what the reasons are, swimming has some advantage that no other exercise can replace. First of all, water somewhat defy gravity and let our body joints and muscle freely move, so patients with muscle or joints problems, or injured limbs take swimming as their best choice of exercise and even "movement". Furthermore, unlike walking or running, which use mostly a few parts of your body, swimming uses the whole body including arms, legs, back, stomach and all major group of muscles, so it's the most balanced exercises. Swimming doesn't give as much pressure as other exercises to circulation system and joints.

Doctors usually suggest people who has arthritis or body injury to swim, because this is the best method  increasing the amount of exercise with minimum strikes to the body. According to some sports specialist, swimming in correct poses is almost the only exercise that doesn't cause injury to our body, because water almost make our body weightless. There is only 10% of active force of the land, so the pressure to our joints is very small as well. Some handicapped people go swimming like a fish everyday and totally get rid of the limitation of their injured body.

Can swimming lose some weight? Consistent swimming can really tone up our muscle and get rid of fat, but weight is different. Muscle is heavier than fat so swimming may actually gain some weight. Since cold water makes our brain senses hunger after swimming to tell our body to eat a good meal. If we eat more than necessary after swimming, it could be worse. However, if we can control our calorie intake, swimming does burn more fat than running. A specialist indicated that water is 775 times heavier than air, swimmers has to burn 25% more calories than normal runners to resist the water pressure.

The most appealing says of swimming is that swimmers look younger than their real age. Also, the author of The Complete Book of Swimming, P. Whitten also indicates that swimming reduce fat and blood pressure, increase good cholesterol , hence reduce the  chances of heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.