Our expert says:
Swimming is one of the more rounded forms of cardiovascular exercise. These include running, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc. Anything that gets you breathing, heart rate up, and metabolic rate is considered cardio. Generally, these are effective in similar ways - that is, they cause increased metabolism, translating to weight loss, fat burning, improved metabolic pathways (an effect that is very complex and one that you are not aware of so much, but maybe the most important - for example, how your body copes with cholesterol and sugars are all improved by this sort of exercise). the circulation is improved, your lung capacity goes up, heart gets stronger, you decrease risks of heart disease etc. All these are included from swimming. Specifically, swimming is often touted as the one exercise that uses the whole body - running and cycling are certainly good on the legs, swimming is good for the whole body. Also, it has very low impact, and so overuse injuries are much less frequent. on the down side, it's not weight bearing and so doesn't cause the same improvements in bone strength as running and wlaking, and as far as energy cost goes, running and cycling allow you to burn more energy, because they use the body against gravity more than swimming.
my opinion is that swimming is a very good activity, provided the intensity of your sessions is high. Very often, swimming is done too easily ,and that removes some of the effects of the exercise. I'm not saying to go out and kill yourself during training, but it definitely is good to push it above what is easy and comfortable and that's why it's always a good idea to do some intensity training. However, it seems that you are doing this already, with your kicking exercises, and so i think you just need to keep it up.
i hope this helps slightly.
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