Swimming is a fun and amazing way to exercise. It’s definitely a lifetime sport, meaning that you can do it from the ages of 3 to 93. I personally have coached all ages of competitive swimmers, and have seen how each and every one of these individuals have benefited from the sort of physical activity swimming allows you to do. There are so many strange advantages, or consequences depending on how you view them, to being a devoted swimmer.
For one, when you start consistently swimming you may begin to develop some crazy muscles! Your traps, the muscles on either side of your neck and down your back might start to protrude and bcome more defined. It sounds weird, but really you’ll want to turn your back to the mirror and start flexing your new muscles. The strangest muscles swimmers develop are what I like to call, “wings”. You might have seen them on Olympic swimmers while they raise their arms to stretch, causing the muscles under their arms to extend, creating the illusion of wings. These muscles are known as the latissimus dorsi, and are proof to the extraordinary changes our bodies make to become more “water-dynamic”.
You may have noticed a change in your appetite after a good swim. I like to call this change “the hunger”. It might be the full body work out you have just received or the vehement need to get the taste of chlorine out of your mouth, but for whatever reason you are starving after having had just swam. You might find yourself in a bit of a trance as you raid your cabinets and refrigerator, but stop right there! I know you’re starving, but you have to be aware of what you are eating. Choose protein rich foods. Some easy post-workout choices are chocolate milk, apples and peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, and turkey and cheese sandwiches. Carbohydrates may be better suited for pre-workout snacks, just because you’ll might want to curb your ravenous post-swim hunger with some substantial snacks.
Something else that I have always found to be the most beneficial part of being a swimmer, was the amount of mental clarity you receive from it. Swimming is generally done in sets, so you may find yourself continuously swimming, only stopping on your timed intervals. You find yourself running through the day, working out problems, planning for the days ahead, and just generally reflecting on life. While I was a student, I liked to use the time to go back over what professors had talked about during the day.
Swimming overall can make you a much more productive person, and swimming on a club team is actually a great way to meet new people! Remember, you’re never too old to start swimming. It’s can be a very cathartic and physically therapeutic way to receive exercise.
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