An avid swimming and weightlifter, Michael Lehrke has trimmed down his exercises over the years to save time while ensuring he performs only the most beneficial routines each week. Below, he helps readers understand why lap swimming is one of the most recommended activities and how anyone can incorporate it into their exercise plan
Michael Lehrke tells us that swimming is, in general, one of the most rewarding exercises anyone can do. It’s not just a unique challenge for our bodies; the activity has been lauded by medical professionals for its health benefits for the mind, too.
“Water is unique in that it provides resistance, but also makes you lighter. You weigh less in water than you do on the moon! This resistance builds muscle and the reduced weight is perfect for your joints,” says Michael Lehrke. “Taking on a swimming routine can boost anyone’s overall health with minimal effort, especially when compared to activities like running or playing basketball.
“Plus, the water helps keep your body cool while you work out,” he says.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, swimming is so effective because it combines three important types of exercise into one: aerobics, stretching, and strengthening. Staying afloat alone — without even performing any exercises — relies on core muscles in the abdomen and back.
As for mental health, submerging yourself or swimming in the water can help shut out external stimuli; it allows the mind to focus on simple movements and relax. Because moving around in water requires help from muscles, swimming releases endorphins that make our bodies and minds feel better.
“And among the various swimming exercises out there, lap swimming proves to be the most beneficial overall,” says Michael Lehrke. “It works out every muscle group we have, from toes to fingertips. By simplifying your workout to focus on lap swimming, you can cut down on the time required to achieve a full-body workout.”
When compared to other aerobic activities, like running, swimming is much easier on your joints. It can also help lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, improve flexibility, and much more. Plus, because lap swimming is a full-body workout, incorporating a swimming routine each week can help people lose weight and prevent obesity.
“If you’re not a good swimmer, don’t worry! Take it slow. Start by practicing your kicks while holding a paddle board. Then graduate to a simple breaststroke with your head above water. After that, try a breaststroke while submerging yourself underwater between strokes. This helps you become comfortable with the feeling of having your head under water. Swimming underwater between strokes also helps to practice your breathing rhythm and technique. Later, you can start working on your ‘front-crawl’ technique – and that’s when the fun really begins!” Michael Lehrke advises. “Remember: take your time. To become a competent lap swimmer will probably take several months of practice. If you ever feel disoriented or overwhelmed, stop immediately and take a break.”
Lehrke tells us that many gyms and swimming centers offer lessons if you never learned to swim as a child. Regardless of how you begin, though, he says the rewards of lap swimming are far too great to pass up. Mr. Lehrke says, “you owe it to yourself to try it!”