Health Advocate Blog

Ask a Health Advocate: Is swimming a good form of exercise?

Absolutely! Exercising in water is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise that puts little stress on the joints and uses several muscle groups including legs, arms and abdominals. Swimming is a great fitness activity that can actually be enjoyed any time of the year. You’re not limited to just the summer months–when the temperature starts to drop, dive into your gym’s pool for a full-body workout.

Before you begin swimming for exercise, here are some key points to remember:

  • There are many styles of swimming. It is important to find which type works best for you. The backstroke and sidestroke can be good for beginners, while the freestyle and breaststroke are more challenging.
  • Controlled and rhythmic breathing is key for efficient swimming and stroke technique. To avoid water intake, make sure to breathe out of your nose when your face is underwater.
  • Get the right equipment. Besides making sure that you have a comfortable swimsuit to wear, you may also want to purchase goggles or a swim cap to enhance your swimming experience.
  • You’re not limited by just swimming! If traditional swim strokes don’t appeal to you, try water-walking in the shallow end or water-running in the deep end for a great cardiovascular workout.
  • Check out swim classes at a local gym or club. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to feel more comfortable in the water or an advanced swimmer looking for a challenging workout, you can find a class that works best for you.

Swimming will challenge your endurance, so start at a slow and comfortable pace and gradually increase your intensity. With time, practice, and consistency, you can increase your swimming speed and master a variety of swim strokes.

Remember, before beginning any new type of exercise, be sure to check with your doctor first. And if you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more tips and advice on swimming for exercise.

Have a question for a Health Advocate? Email, and your question may be the topic of an upcoming “Ask a Health Advocate” column!