Written By: Emily Fregger
Keeping healthy can sometimes prove to be a daunting task, especially for an incoming freshman. Throughout my life swimming has always been the form of fitness that I love to do. It’s a great exercise, helping you target muscles that you couldn’t by running on a treadmill or lifting weights. Not to mention that a gym membership can be costly, and as students we need to watch every penny we spend.
When I first came to UNF I was constantly looking for a swimming program. I was a competitive swimmer for many years and quit after high school, because I couldn’t find any swimming programs for adults in my area that I felt comfortable with. UNF Masters Swimming is a great way to reach all of your goals as far as exercise, and UNF has a great program. Coached by Carlos Meija, who is an extremely attentive coach and an accomplished swimmer. He was chosen twice to swim for Ecuador’s National Team and coached for Providence High School where he produced out Regional and State champions.
If you still feel like the gym is the only way to get fit, check out these interesting facts from Discovery Health. You may be surprised to discover that swimming is the only aerobic exercise without a harsh impact on your skeletal system. When the human body is submerged in water you only bear about 10 percent of your body weight, the pool takes on the other 90. Swimming is also a great way to improve muscle tone and strength. When you jog or run you’re only moving yourself through air. However, when you swim you’re propelling yourself through water, which is about twelve times as dense as air making every stroke and kick a resistance exercise. Swimming has also been proven to improve bone strength. By swimming you will also improve the health of your heart and improve flexibility. Another benefit of swimming is weight loss. If you’re trying to get fit for Spring Break, swimming is a fantastic way to do so. It also helps with keeping a control on your weight.
Other benefits of swimming included lowering cholesterol as well as diabetes risks and mood improvements. Swimming is complimentary to yoga, it relaxes you as you exercise. This is because of the constant stretching and relaxing of your muscles combined with the deep rhythmic breathing you do while swimming. From personal experience, when I’ve had a bad day, the splashing sounds of the water and my own breathing put me in a Zen state, where anything outside of the pool fades away. In addition to the metaphysical benefits of swimming, research shows that swimming can actually change the brain for the better through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, when the brain replaces cells lost through stress.
For more information about the benefits of swimming, take a look at: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/retirement/10-health-benefits-of-swimming.htm and http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/08/04/how-swimming-reduces-depression/
Even if you have never swam before, Coach Meija can help. He makes practice fun and makes workouts that test you without overworking you. It’s also inexpensive for a UNF student to join masters, there are various payment options for you to choose from. They have monthly rates starting at $15 , and semester rates starting at $50. Coach Meija also has multiple practices Monday through Friday so that everyone can be accommodated. Check out the Facebook page for more information on UNF Masters Swimming. http://www.facebook.com/UNFMastersSwim