If and when we can find 30 precious minutes to hit the gym, you can most likely find us sweating it out on the Stairmaster or doing a HIIT circuit —two workouts that are proven to be well worth your time. But according to natural medicine doctor and nutritionist Josh Axe, the most effective workout may actually reside in another part of your gym (or even in your backyard).
"There's no such thing as a miracle workout but, if there was, swimming would be pretty high on the list," he explains on his website. "With both physical and mental benefits, swimming workouts can really improve your overall health in a short amount of time." He estimates that swimming at a moderate pace burns around 270 calories in just half an hour, while a fast-paced swim can burn up to 700 calories in 60 minutes. Compare that to running, which, for a person of average weight, burns roughly 100 calories for every mile completed. Of course, diet, health history, and the type of swimming workout all factor into this equation.
More important, adding swimming to your workout regimen can increase blood flow to the brain, boost mood, lower blood pressure, lengthen lifespan, reduce your risk of heart disease, and assuage lower back pain, according to Axe's infographic. Best of all, swimming is a non-impact workout, meaning it's easy on the joints and a great alternative to a high-impact activity like running. Convinced? Here's a 700-meter beginner workout he swears by:
- Two laps 50-meter freestyle swim
- Two laps 50-meter backstroke
- Two laps 50-meter breaststroke
- Two laps 50-meter butterfly
- Two laps 100-meter individual medleys (25-meter freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly)
- Repeat step 1 as a cooldown.
Pick up a new one-piece before summer hits, and share your favorite swim workout in the comments below!