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Swimming, as we have always been told, is called the ultimate, all-around exercise activity.
It is said that swimming works all of the body's major muscle groups, has little impact on your joints and can burn as many calories as going for a run.
I do not need to talk about the fact that swimming has less impact on your body than other dryland exercises.
This is a no brainer - water is just less rough on the body than the constant pounding of your feet on the pavement.
Let's look closely at all major muscle groups' statement though.
Is it a truth or a lie?
Do you really utilize all your major muscle groups while you swim?
To help us bust this myth or not, I found the following video which gives us an insight into what muscles are actually being used during swimming of all the strokes.
The video is a work of Dr. Nakashima from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and I am not sure anything else needs to be said, just watch and you will form your own opinion.
Now that we know swimming has less impact on your body and works many of your muscles, let's focus on the calories.
A swimmer moves through water which in normal situation is much cooler than an average human temperature.
Therefore, by only sitting in water, not doing anything, you will burn calories.
Of course, very little, but you do.
So far, so good. It seems swimming has an upper hand.
The problem of the last deceiving statement that swimming can burn the same amount of calories as running is the length of the exercise.
The swimmer actually needs to swim a lot longer to burn the same amount of calories as a runner.
Even though water is denser than air and it is much tougher for the swimmer to move through the water than a runner through the air, you need to swim longer to burn the same calories during running.
See, swimming does use a lot of different muscles, but in running you use a lot of the quads, the biggest muscles in your body, therefore you will burn calories much quicker.
On the other hand, if you were to play water polo and compare that to running. You'd be basically on almost even ground due to the fact that in water polo, the player treads water quite a bit which uses a lot of leg muscles as well.