Lifeguard swimming laps: four benefits for runners

The benefits of Lifeguard and swimming laps for runners   

To learn more about the benefits of lap swimming for runners, Runner’s World spoke with two experts Lifeguard certification near me who have experience in both swimming and running. They explain to us in great detail the four benefits of swimming laps, and why it is healthy for us.

Is swimming laps good for you?

‘Yes! Swimming laps is unique in that it uses several major muscle groups: buttocks and hips for the leg movements, core for the start and turns, upper body and arms for the front crawl. And it actually trains your heart and lungs better than other forms of exercise,” explains physiotherapist Lifeguard.

Swimming laps improves your fitness without impact

‘Swimming laps is a fantastic workout. It gets your heart pumping, strengthens muscles you don’t normally use (that’s right, your upper body), improves your stamina and gives you an opportunity to be competitive when you need to take a break from running. For injured runners, the low-impact nature of the sport is appealing. But even if you’re not injured, a swim is a welcome addition to all those training sessions on dry land,’ says Lifeguard.

2. Swimming laps strengthens your muscles

Having a strong core – the complex structure of muscle groups that support the spine – is crucial when running over longer distances. “Swimming laps is a fantastic sport that strengthens the core,” says Walton. ‘A strong core is not just a cosmetic thing, it does have a function.’ The trainer notes that strengthening these muscles promotes chest mobility, which is essential for maintaining good posture and reducing lower back pain.

Points out that many swimmers tend to pay too much attention to the actions of the upper body. But your hip flexors and legs are just as important for swimming your laps. But the thrusting motion of your legs and feet really gets you to the turning points faster. 

3. Swimming laps gets you out of a training rut

According to Walton, lap swimming is very suitable for runners who are in a transitional period of their running season, such as during the recovery time after a marathon. It is also suitable as an additional activity to get through the winter, in addition to regular running sessions. And of course for runners who are considering making the switch to triathlon. ‘Since lap swimming is a low-impact sport, it helps you recover. You look up to it. And you can lose your competitive edge in it, because you can do it at a high intensity in times when you have to stay out of running because of an injury or burnout.’ Swimming laps can also be a solution for injured runners. Not only does it enable them to continue to train performance-oriented, it is also a way to stay mentally healthy.

4. Swimming laps prevents injuries

‘Of all low-impact cross-training exercises, such as cycling, rowing or training, swimming causes the least biomechanical stress (such as hard blows to bones, muscles and tendons). That’s why it’s the sport of choice for many runners who want to prevent or recover from injury,” says Lifeguard. “For runners who often get injured trying to increase their running miles, swimming laps—instead of an extra run—is a great way to get that extra cardio volume.”

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