November 12, 2012

Exercising Options (Part 3)

Okay, so we’ve looked at running, jogging, and walking and bicycling. Now it is time to move onto swimming. So often people only think of swimming as a way to beat the summer heat, but it is also a great way to exercise.

Like the other forms of exercise already discussed, swimming provides support for the cardiovascular system, immune system, and all-around physical health. And like those other forms, this benefit works to keep us healthy for life, which means that swimming also improves our lifespan just as running, jogging, walking, and cycling do. So, what I’m saying is that swimming provides many of the same benefits as the other options.

Additionally, though, WebMD reports that swimming is an almost zero-impact exercise. Zero-impact! That’s great for those who already suffer joint pain. In fact, swimming can help that joint pain to lessen. Many senior citizens participate in water activities such as water aerobics specifically because water exercise causes almost no pain yet provides all the gain. How wonderful.

On top of those, swimming is incredibly good for whole body workouts. Cycling focuses mainly on the lower parts of our bodies. Running and jogging use both but tend to cause joint pain. Walking helps mainly the lower body but also some upper body. Swimming does it all; it increases muscle strength and toning in our entire bodies because we have to use our entire bodies when doing laps.

Of course, one must actually engage in exercise activity in the pool. Making laps or water aerobics are the best options. We can’t just laze about the pool and expect the health benefits to affect us through osmosis. We have to do something.

Now, some disadvantages do exist in swimming. Namely, one must have access to a swimming pool. Usually, this means one must pay for a membership fee at a gym or city pool. Not everyone can afford that, nor does everyone have such access.

Another major disadvantage is drowning. If someone does not know how to swim, jumping into doing laps in the pool is simply not a good idea. In fact,  it can only spell disaster. In all forms of exercise we must be responsible and know our limitations. We should not set out on a ten-mile run if we have never before run, nor should we jump into the deep end of a pool if we cannot swim. With running, though, we can just start to walk. With swimming, we risk drowning. So, we must make sure we can swim if we start doing laps. If not, start small and learn to swim.

The final major disadvantage with swimming is a chemical: chlorine. This chemical disinfects the water, but it may also affect our respiratory health. Little can be done about chlorine, but readers should be aware that swimming does contribute a toxin to our systems when we swim in chlorinated pools.

Naturally, I will not be able to discuss all the exercise options available in the world, but I am trying to give a broad spectrum to help redOrbit readers to find their preferred mode of exercise. If we want to look good and be healthy, we must include exercise. Swimming is just another opportunity for better health.

Image Credit: Schmid Christophe / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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