A frequent swim is perfect forgetting in some cardio, getting your heart pumping and building strength. And as an aerobic exercise it’s ideal for building lung capacity, says coach and former Olympic swimmer Shrone Austin. ‘During aerobic exercise, your heart rate and lung efficiency increase. When you swim, the large muscle groups that require high volumes of oxygen to perform their tasks are activated. So, while your muscles are getting a good workout, your cardiovascular system is too.’
If you’re over cardio routines like jogging or cycling, you’ll be happy to discover that swimming is a lot gentler on the body. ‘Swimming is considered a low-impact activity, because gravity is eliminated when one is in water,’ Austin says. ‘There’s no additional force pushing on the joints of the body, which helps to limit injuries.’
Austin, who first hit the water at six months old, was born in South Africa but grew up in the Seychelles, which is where her love for the sport grew. She was identified as a talent at the age of seven, and from there she moved up into the Seychelles national swimming team. At the age of 14 she was named Sportswoman of the Year, and she represented the country at the 2003, 2005 and 2007 World Swimming Championships; the 2006 Commonwealth Games; and the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
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