Nearly all swimmers have heard of the butterfly stroke. It is actually the newest swimming stroke, having been first swum in competition in 1933. Those who know it also know that it is the most difficult of all strokes because it requires excellent technique, stamina and great strength. Beginners certainly struggle with it, but if your technique is solid and you have plenty of swimming experience, swimming butterfly can actually be very fast over short sprints and distances despite the effort required.
The butterfly was developed out of the breaststroke. Where the breaststroke has a long underwater movement and recovery phase, the butterfly mitigates this delay in movement and action through the push and pull of the entire upper body. Over long distances, breaststroke is certainly more effective at conserving energy, and butterfly swimming cannot replace it.
The Health Benefits of Swimming
Swimming has long been considered a fantastic health activity for people of all skill and experience levels. The fact that your body becomes buoyant in the water means that your musculoskeletal system is not under the same amount of stress as it is when supporting you out of the water. This makes swimming a great activity for the elderly and those looking to rehabilitate, as in hydrotherapy. If you’ve never really considered the health benefits of swimming, here’s a short list for you.
Swimming is a superior aerobic exercise, because it increases your heart rate but does not place a heavy stress on the rest of your body due to the buoyancy of the water. If you immerse yourself in the water to neck height, ninety percent of your body weight is being supported by the water. This makes swimming akin to the low gravity environment of the moon!
Swimming uses most of the body’s muscles, so it provides a great overall workout, whether competitive or recreational. This entire body workout in a low impact environment is great for your cardiovascular system and can even help to alleviate joint conditions like arthritis, and improve joint flexibility.
If you are a more experienced swimmer, engaging in some butterfly swimming can increase your heart rate more than other water-based activities, but without the impact of a high energy land-based sport.
Regular swimmers will know that swimming increases lung capacity over time, and helps them to regulate their breathing. It should be no surprise that swimming also helps to relieve and even control asthma symptoms. All the cardiovascular benefits of swimming mean that you will be able to control your weight more easily.
Swim More for a Healthier and Happier Life
There’s no doubt that swimming is a fantastic way to exercise. Even though learning the butterfly is difficult, it can provide the sort of aerobic exercise you need to control your weight and get healthy. Even if you’re not game to try out the butterfly, any time spent doing an activity in the water is good for you and your health.