“Swimming uses all the large muscle groups,” says Savage. “Plus, it uses the cardiovascular system, respiratory system [and] musculoskeletal system.”
“The forces in swimming aren’t as harsh as, say, going for a run,” says Savage. “There’s drag, lift [and] gravity, but really the effect of buoyancy in swimming ... sort of negates any effect of gravity on the swimmer. So it’s quite an easy impact on the lower body.” That’s why a lot of people use swimming for post-surgery, post-injury and returning to sport, she adds. “A lot of our elite swimmers actually started swimming because they had asthma. So there’s an element of respiratory development. Some of our track athletes use it for recovery, to de-load and do pool running.” Keen to get your technique on point? Search online for local programs that help with everything from tekkers and endurance to speed.
Swimmers are renowned for their tone (hello, Campbell sisters!). That's because strength is developed via resistance, and the water offers resistance, says Savage. “There’s resistance to be able to pull yourself through the water and kick against it, and ... you actually have to [work hard to] find support in a fluid environment.”
Not convinved? Here's four extra reasons that a swim should be your next workout.