Everyone wants a taut tummy or defined abs regardless of their age or gender. Great abs and a tight stomach aren’t just about looking great in your clothes or being slimmer! It’s about improving your overall health and wellbeing, as abdominal fat could lead to a number of health consequences. As you already know, abdominal fat is stubborn, which is why most people struggle when they want to define their abs. Cardio, strength exercises, HIIT are all effective and help you in their own ways, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to those activities only. What most people don’t know is that swimming and water aerobics can benefit their abdominals as well. To get the best results in a shorter timeframe, it’s recommended to combine multiple activities, and throughout this post we’re going to show you the benefits of swimming.
Is swimming really beneficial?
Swimming or water aerobics isn’t a strenuous activity, which is why most people don’t consider it as a useful way to lose weight and tighten their abs. You’ll be happy to know that multiple studies have already confirmed the positive impact of this activity on your body goals.
For example, researchers at the University of Western Australia carried out a study here the primary objective was to compare the effects of swimming and walking on body weight, fitness, lipids, glucose, insulin, and so on. The Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental published findings from this research which showed that compared with walking, swimming significantly improved body weight, body fat distribution and insulin in both the short- and long-term. After a year-long course of the study, participants randomised to the swimming group had lost more weight and more off their waistlines than those in the walking group. It’s also important to mention that participants in both groups exercised at the same intensity and for the identical amount of time (three times a week).
Although it’s true that swimming and water aerobics exercises are based on floating which reduces the work one has to do, it’s important to bear in mind that you also have to work against the “drag effect” of the water on the body. This increases the energy expenditure and allows you to lose weight in the pool just as well as outside of it.
Aquatic exercise and body composition
A study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation sought to discover the impact of swimming and aquatic exercise on body composition, physical fitness, and other factors. Researchers discovered the following:
- Participants in the swimming group showed major changes in body composition, body fat percentage, and fat-free mass
- Long-term aquatic exercise helps control the negative energy balance, thus leading to a continuous body fat decrease. This occurs due to the fact that long-term water exercise, as an aerobic activity, effectively consumes body fat
- The swimming group also showed differences in muscular endurance, flexibility, and cardiopulmonary endurance
- Aquatic exercise also improves grip strength
Physical exercise in water was also beneficial for an increase of both physical and mental health for individuals who want to reduce the risk of injuries, according to a study from the Journal of Obesity.
Swimming for great abs
Swimming poses as an aerobic exercise of moderate intensity that helps you burn calories, lose fat, and manage weight. Water exercises can also help you improve strength in your upper body, lower body, and core. Basically, swimming is an activity that targets muscles throughout the body. Another benefit of aquatic exercises is that improved muscle strength allows you to perform “land-based exercises” better as well.
Here are a few tips and tricks to tighten your abdominal muscles when in the water:
- Resistance training – keeping your head facing forward and your back straight, start walking or running through the water. Due to added resistance, you are “forced” to work harder
- Try treading water in the deep end for a few minutes. For a maximum effect, bring your knees up as high as possible and keep stomach muscles tight. Do this for a minute without stopping
- Lying on your back in the water, hold a kickboard to your chest. That way, your abdominal muscles have to work harder to keep the body in balance and your head above water
- When at the edge of the pool, hold yourself up on the side using your elbows, bring your legs up until you’re in a seated position, hold for 10 seconds and relax. Do as many reps as you can
Contrary to the popular belief that water exercise isn’t helpful for weight loss and tight abs, multiple studies have proven otherwise. Swimming not only helps you lose weight and improve strength, but you’ll also find it easier to perform other workout routines. In a bid to have tighter abdominal muscles, don’t rule out water-based exercises.
Understanding your body and the activities that play a role to reach your goals comes with knowledge and understanding. Here are the top 5 myths about building six-pack abs to help you reach your Ab Goals.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.