words by water baby, Francesca Londoño-Brasington

Vogue-Spain-Bianca swim

There’s no better way to cool off during these hot summer days than plunging headfirst into water; whether it be the sea, lido or your local swimming pool; swimming is the exercise this season. I joined my local swimming club at the age of five and competed throughout my school years and beyond. I still have a huge passion for the sport and believe everyone should add a swimming session to their weekly training schedule; the benefits are endless and I’ve summed them up in my top five:

  • Swimming is low impact, aerobic exercise.  The water creates buoyancy which means it’s gentle on the joints and less likely to cause injury unlike high impact sport such as running.  This means it’s the perfect workout for everyone – from the young to the old and especially helpful for those who struggle with weight bearing exercise.  It’s also ideal during pregnancy and rehabilitation.
  • You have to work much harder to regulate and control your breathing when swimming meaning it’s fantastic for increasing lung capacity.  This in turn helps to aid asthma and respiratory problems.  Along with benefiting your lungs, it’s a cardio exercise working your heart and therefore optimal for cross training.  Add in a swim once a week to your training plan and you’ll see improved results in all other sports.
  • Swimming is an overall body workout which creates long, lean muscles without the need for weights.  Swimming is one of the few forms of exercise which improves strength, stamina and suppleness all in one.  It’s particularly beneficial for strengthening the core, shoulders, back and arms.  Swimmers really do have the best bodies – just think back to the Olympics last year!  So if you want that sought after washboard stomach, get in the pool!
  • You can add variety to your swimming training.  There are four different strokes to work on for a start and once you add in the use of a pull buoy and kickboard you can focus on pull and kick separately.  This means you can mix up distance, speed and stroke for the complete aerobic, anaerobic and interval session all in one.
  • And for those of you who are looking to burn off the calories; swimming burns at least 500 calories an hour (more if you go for it!) making it a superb workout.

Image: Bianca Balti shot for Vogue Spain http://www.vogue.es