Updated 16 October 2013

Swimming beats land exercise

A new survey shows that swimming provides a better workout than most other forms of exercise.

Undertaken by global research company Vision Critical, 4 120 randomly selected adults from the UK, USA, France and China were surveyed. The survey results reveal that 73% of respondents who already swim, or want to start swimming, believe that it is the only sport which can be pursued for life.

In addition, 86% believe swimming provides a better workout and 71% feel physically fitter as a result of swimming, compared to any other form of exercise.  Seventy six percent of those surveyed said regular swimming results in a better body than any other form of exercise.

The survey results challenge perceptions that swimming is not exciting. Eighty four percent believe swimming is more fun than other exercise, with 92% saying swimming is a stress reliever.

Speedo researchers note that swimming provides all the benefits of running. However, water-based exercise is low-impact, reducing the strain on joints and muscles brought on by running, aerobics and some weight-training regimens.

As well as assisting with toning and weight loss, swimming is beneficial for the heart, lungs and muscles, and builds stamina, posture and flexibility making it the perfect all round exercise.

Swimming’s cardiovascular properties are well known, but taking to the pool is an increasingly popular way to lose weight. Swimming burns three calories per 1.6 kilometres per 0.45 kilograms of body weight and, compared with running, the benefits become obvious:
  • Running at 12-minute-mile pace for one hour burns 450 to 700 calories. Swimming at moderate pace for the same time can burn up to 900 calories.
  • Pool swimming offers consistent conditions for the duration of the exercise with unchanging water resistance. In contrast, runners experience varying wind speeds and direction, as well as having differing types of terrain and weather to contend with.
  • Swim training aids offer swimmers the opportunity to change conditions according to their own fitness needs.
For example, Speedo's BioFuse Power Paddle is engineered for maximum resistance which helps build upper body strength and muscles while improving effectiveness in areas such as strength, technique, endurance, and calorie burning.

Additionally, using Speedo's BioFuse Training Fins not only effectively help burn calories, but build leg muscles, leading to a faster swim.

The Speedo Elite PullBouy develops upper body strength by suspending and floating your legs.

So, swimming benefits everyone, from competitive athletes to novices, young and old, and all shapes and sizes.

Due to buoyancy, swimming is perfect for those who may not be able to undertake land-based exercise due to injury or disability. Swimming works muscles without undue strain, offering the perfect way to rebuild muscles weakened by injury and aid recovery.

Swimming is also widely believed to be the perfect exercise for pregnant women as it keeps abdominal muscles strong – essential when carrying a baby – as well as strengthening the back. Swimming is a controlled and non-strenuous exercise, reducing the risk of any unnecessary strain damaging the baby.

It’s these properties that make swimming the ideal exercise for the elderly too, with water based exercise providing an effective relief from common complaints such as joint stiffness, high blood pressure, and general discomfort.

And, if the physical benefits weren’t enough, swimming can also work wonders, mentally. Many regular swimmers find that taking to the pool is a fantastic way to escape and de-stress, clearing the head and helping achieve a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Do you want to boost your swim training? Download Speedo’s Improver Training Programme.