If you thought that swimming polls are just for children splashing around or record-breaking professional swimmers, you were wrong. Swimming is a sport that engages all muscle groups and it does wonders for your health. It had been around for so long, that there are so many interesting things about it that people do not know. If the masses became aware of how swimming is fun, we would see many more swimming pools all over the place, even in backyards. Anyway, here are 7 fun facts that you probably didn’t know about both swimming and swimming pools that come in all shapes and sizes.
The heart and the lungs
The organs that benefit the most from a good swimming practice are the heart and the lungs. You need a lot of air when you swim, so your lungs expand so you could inhale and exhale deeper. Over time, this expands the size of the lungs and you experience greater lung capacity, meaning that you can withstand more intensive physical activity. Secondly, swimming is a full cardio workout because the heart needs to pump extra blood, strengthening itself in the process. After all, our heart is muscle like any other!
If you are trying to lose weight or feel a bit sluggish, you need to know that vigorous swimming has the potential to burn some 650 calories. Not only will you lose weight fast, but you will do this in a natural way. In fact, by swimming for an hour you burn more than calories than you would do walking, jogging, or cycling, making swimming the ultimate sport for amateur sportsmen.
Swimming impacts the mental health as well. It has been scientifically proven that the sound of water calms your nerves down. Jumping inside the pool can do even more because you empty your mind when you swim because you have to concentrate on the next stroke. The end result is not thinking about anything for roughly an hour which is a luxury many busy people simply cannot afford otherwise in the hectic world of today.
A bit of history
Swimming had been around for so long that it had accumulated an impressive history. For instance, the oldest stroke is the breaststroke, which was used back in antiquity in Roman baths. Modern swimming fins that diving and snorkeling cannot be possibly imagined without were actually invented by none other than America’s favorite Benjamin Franklin. Swimming was so popular that it was included in the modern Olympics right from the very start, back in 1896. However, women’s swimming competitions were not part of the official Olympic Games until 16 years later, in 1912. Finally, synchronized swimming events first appeared in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Backyard swimming pools
It took another half a century before swimming pools transformed from public places into privately owned backyard features. After WWII, affluent Americans started building swimming pools on their estates. As the standard of living grew, other social categories started doing the same, and finally the concept was adopted worldwide. In fact, today’s standards pools would be considered luxurious back in the day. A glass pool fencing installation is nowadays a quite common feature, while it was the height of luxury in post-war America.
Apart from strengthening your body, swimming and learning about swimming can entertain you as well, since there are many facts you weren’t aware of. For instance, did you know that the first ever swimming race recorded in history was held in Japan in the year 36 BC? The RMS Titanic, whose sinking you probably watched in James Cameroon’s eponymous screening, was the first ocean liner that had a swimming pool and a gym on its deck. A century later, these are standard features on modern cruise ships that traverse the oceans and seas of our planet.
When it comes to individuals, the American swimmer Mark Spitz was the person who succeeded in winning seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympic Games. To this day, this is the largest number of medals a single athlete has managed to swim in a one Olympics.
In terms of size, a standard pool is 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. However, the Orthlieb Pool in Morocco is 480 meters long and 75 meters wide, which makes it the world’s largest swimming pool in terms of surface. There were rumors of a ginormous pool being built in Moscow during the Soviet era but it was demolished after the fall of communism during the 1990s, so there is no actual record of its existence. In terms of depth, the record-holding pool is located near Brussels in Belgium. Apart from two pools 5 and 10 meters deep, it features a large circular one descending to a depth of 33 meters.
We hope that after these 7 fun facts about swimming you realize how popular and healthy this sport is. Even if you cannot swim fast or go the distance; there is no reason not to jump inside and test your endurance.