It’s well known that swimming is a great workout for your entire body, which many people do just for its own sake. What may be less obvious is that swimming can actually help your performance in other sports.
Musicians who play wind instruments, like flute or saxophone, reap the benefits of increased lung capacity due to practising breath control, whereby they can hold their breath for longer or have more air to use while playing. Swimmers are no different if they practise breath control, which will not only benefit them in swimming, but also in other intensive sports where increased lung capacity can help.
Swimming is a great way to use many of your muscles, such as: abdominals and lower back to decrease drag in the water; deltoids and shoulder to increase arm length and proper entry into the water; forearms for propulsion; upper back for stabilizing strokes; and glutes and hamstrings to aid in propulsion. All of these muscles are used in other sports, particularly ball sports such as football, tennis, basketball and soccer, as well as gymnastics and athletics.
Swimming involves telling your body to perform certain actions at certain times so you can propel yourself effectively through the water. It’s no exaggeration to say that improving your coordination through swimming will give you benefits in pretty much any other sport you can think of, given the importance of hand-eye and muscle coordination for any physical activity – even just walking down the street.
Due to the intensity of swimming repeated laps, your cardiovascular system can get quite a workout. If you’re not a fan of running or jogging, or other cardio-intensive exercises like skipping rope etc, then swimming is a great alternative. Like coordination, improved cardiovascular performance will help with any sport you play, particularly ones that often require sustained periods of running, such as football or soccer.
If you’ve been injured whilst playing a sport or in any other activity, swimming can help you rehabilitate. Due to the increased resistance but also buoyancy of water, swimming can be a low-impact way of exercising that will reduce the strain on your muscles, bones and joints.
By improving your lung capacity, strength, coordination and cardio, swimming can also give you confidence in other areas of your life, even if you don’t compete in swimming. And given the benefits that swimming has in terms of water safety and awareness of water hazards, it really is such an all-round great sport.