Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

Can Swimming Help You Become a Better Runner?

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 2/21/17 9:00 AM

Could the secret to better running be found in the swimming pool? According to many exercise experts, the answer is a resounding "yes." In fact, adding swimming to your cross-training regimen might just be the missing link that will help you run better, smoother and longer. Need proof? Below are some key points that explain how swimming can help you become a better runner. 

1. Aerobic Benefit

Swimming is an excellent aerobic activity, especially since it can be performed without risking injury to joints, muscles, bones and/or tendons due to repetitive impact. With swimming, you can engage in a higher volume of aerobic training while saving your body quite a bit of wear and tear. In fact, many runners incorporate swimming into their rehabilitation regimens when recovering from running-related injuries. 

2. Works Different Muscle Groups

If you spend a couple of hours swimming, you will definitely feel like you've worked every muscle in your body – including some that you didn't even know you had! When you're in the pool, the water provides quite a bit of resistance to your movements, which requires you to work your muscles with practically every move you make. This can strengthen certain muscles that might not be very active while running, but are still important for you to develop in order to keep other muscles from becoming overworked via compensation. 

3. Improves Pace and Increases Endurance

When running, do you find yourself starting out strong but then getting gassed in fairly short order? Many times, this lack of endurance can come from inefficient pacing. One of the biggest benefits of swimming for runners is that it will teach you how to improve your pacing skills through developing good rhythmic breathing, as well as through performing consistent movements at set intervals. When you're in the water and you're trying to get from Point A to Point B, you basically have no option but to learn how to control your breathing and pace your movements, otherwise, you'll sink. As you're developing these vital skills in the pool, it will begin to translate over into your running in terms of being able to maintain proper breath control, good pacing and efficient movement, all of which are critical to improving endurance. 

4. Increases Flexibility

Flexibility is a key to avoiding injury, and swimming can do wonders for improving your flexibility through the resistance that the water provides for your muscles. For example, when you're properly kicking in the water, your ankles will become more flexible, and the ligaments and tendons that govern ankle movement will become stronger as well. Not only that, but the kicking motion of swimming will recruit those muscles in your hip flexors, essentially forcing them to become more flexible as well. 

5. Builds Upper Body Strength

Since running is such a "leg-heavy" activity, it can leave your upper body lacking in the strength department. While this might not seem like too big of a deal, a lack of upper body strength can actually have a negative effect on your ability to control your stride, which in turn will decrease the efficiency of your movements. When this happens, you will have to work harder to maintain a steady stride, which expends more oxygen and diminishes your endurance. Swimming strengthens the muscles in your shoulders and upper back, which will improve your balance and help you maintain better stride control. 

As you can see, training in the pool is one of the best ways to boost your performance on the pavement. Be sure to stop by Five Seasons Family Sports Club when you're ready to log some laps in the pool, and watch your running improve as a result!

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