With heat waves coming and going this season, taking some time out to cool down in the pool is top of everyone's to-do list. But where to find a swimming pool in London? Fitness First Baker Street, London Bridge Cottons, Tottenham Court Road, Thomas Moore Square, Highbury, Streatham, and Hammersmith in London all have swimming pools, as do our Bath, Bedford and Cheltenham gyms, where you can beat the heat by either doing lengths or taking part in an aquarobics class.
But it's not just a refreshing splash that the swimming pool is good for. Swimming, quite often seen as an inconvenient way to work out, is an exercise with multiple benefits. If you're not yet savvy on your swimming facts, then discover why just a short session at the pool could really improve your fitness.
It's great for your respiratory organs
Compared to the gym (or any other dry places), there's a greater amount of moisture found in the air at the pool. More moisture in the air allows the lungs to take in oxygen more easily, so you'll be able to perform more efficiently and maybe for longer when exercising in or around a pool. If you suffer from asthma or any other respiratory conditions, this added ease of breathing will be most noticeable.
Naturally, swimming also teaches you to control your breathing and how to take more effective breaths when you come up for air. Doing strokes such as front crawl and butterfly over a period of time will gradually have taught you how to breathe steadily and effectively in your day-to-day life too.
It tones and conditions so many muscles...
Water is much denser than air, so when swimming you use a greater amount of muscle to move. Your body is facing constant resistance when in water (much greater than from air when running, say), therefore your body works harder.
Not only do you benefit from a cardio workout by swimming, but an array of muscles are being toned at the same time – muscles that you wouldn't use doing other forms of exercise. Think about doing front crawl, for example: not only are you using your legs, but your arms and core to help propel yourself too.
... But is still very low impact on the body
Though swimming uses a wide range of muscles and is great for all-body toning, it's very low impact on the body. As there's no jarring of joints or muscles on hard surfaces you can swim often and for long periods of time, and feel less wear on your body as a result.
For those with injured or aching muscles, swimming is one of the best exercises you can do as it can be done at any pace and at any ability (as long as you can actually, erm, swim!). Swimming can be leisurely respite from higher intensity sports and exercise classes. It's great for those building up their fitness from scratch, those recovering illness, and is also great for pregnant women.
It helps relieve stress
Yes, we know that all forms of exercise release fell-good endorphins that boost our mood and reduce stress. When swimming however, we're most often submerged under water and this dulling of the sense is therapeutic to the mind. The fact that sounds are blocked out and that vision is slightly blurry, the mind is able to switch off from its surroundings. This is great for relieving anxiety or even practicing mindfulness, even if it is just for a 30-minute stint.