The Benefits of Swimming


By Sandie Neri

I know our hectic lifestyles often prevent it, but we all do stand to benefit from some exercise in our lives. These are a few things I found out while studying my favorite way to workout.

NFL players, such as Cleveland Brown’s wide receiver Josh Cribbs, use swimming as a part of their workout. In fact, Cribbs was an excellent swimmer in high school, and is aware of the aerobic benefits of swimming. Actress Natalie Portman, star of the movie ‘Black Swan’, had to follow a very intensive workout routine to get her body in top ballerina shape. Portman started her day with a mile of swim laps, followed by two hours of ballet exercises.  Both Cribbs and Portman are very aware that because you are in water, your body is working against the resistance of the water which is great cardiovascular exercise, but your body doesn’t feel the strain.

According to (Center for Disease Control), swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People have reported enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land, probably because they can enjoy exercising longer without joint or muscle pain.

“It is a good, whole-body exercise that has low impact for arthritis, musculoskeletal, or weight limitations,” says Robert A. Robergs, Director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratories at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and quoted on

Not only is swimming easy on the body, it’s a great way to get fit, according to Tay Stratton, Head Swim Coach at the Little Rock Athletic Club. Swimming recruits all the major muscle groups, including the shoulders, back, abdominals, legs, hips, and glutes she says.  “It’s cardiovascular and strengthening at the same time, and not many workouts have that”, says Stratton.

Also found on was Sue Nelson, Aquatic Program Specialist for USA Swimming in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who has many success stories of obese clients that lost weight after they began working out on the water. One man was 500 pounds, had rheumatoid arthritis, and had to quit work because he couldn’t get around.  “He went from a wheelchair, to a walker, to crutches, to a cane, to nothing by working out in the water,” says Nelson, “He became one of my employees and lost over 250 pounds.”

While experts are still disputing that this result may not occur with everyone, they do agree that swimming has many benefits for everyone.

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