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Man swimming

History of Swimming:

Swimming originates back to some of the first humans, who had to swim in order to find food. Drawings in caves show swimming was practiced as early as 2500BC in Egypt and thereafter in Assyrian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. Ancient Egyptians swam in the Nile for pleasure, whereas Greeks and Romans used it to train prospective soldiers.

Swimming has been part of the Olympic schedule since the very first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It is only one of four disciplines to have been retained, appearing in every summer Olympics since. Today, it is now the third most watched Olympic event and many people, Olympians and not, enjoy the benefits of swimming and aquatic fitness.


Why Aquatic Fitness?

There are many benefits of aquatic fitness and many different forms of exercise in the water that can be modified for different skill and comfort levels. The water offers natural resistance, which helps strengthen muscles. It is also a low-impact activity that takes the pressure off of bones, joints, and muscles. There are many physical and mental benefits from being in the water, such as improved heart and lung health, muscular endurance, and strength, as well as, reduced stress and pain.

Anyone can get started with aquatic fitness, it is a great option for all ages and skill levels, even if you cannot swim. Many land exercises can be modified for the water and are often better for you and your body in the pool. For example, in one hour, swimming burns about forty percent more calories than biking. If you’re just getting started in the pool, try water walking and add in water weights to your workout to add extra resistance. You can also join in on an aquatic fitness class where you can get more exercises and techniques from a trained instructor.

People have using the water and seeing its advantages for hundreds of years. It doesn’t take an Olympian to see the benefits of the pool, it is an activity for all! Whether you’re swimming laps, or just simply walking in the water, you are guaranteed to get a relaxing, low-impact workout.


Emily LeMaster, YMCA Healthy Living Center Aquatics Director 

Category: Health & Wellness
Emily L.

Emily LeMaster is the Aquatics Director at the YMCA Healthy Living Center and Kirn Pool in Council Bluffs. She has been with the YMCA of Greater Omaha for 6 years as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and now a director. Her certifications include: Lifeguard, Lifeguard Instructor, CPR/AED/First Aid Pro, Swim Lesson Instructor, and Certified Pool Operator. Aside from her professional career in Aquatics, she enjoys volleyball, hiking, and paddle boarding.