I was thrown into a swimming pool as a child and almost drowned since I didn’t know how to swim. Growing up in a small hill station was not conducive to learning how to swim. It was with great trepidation that I took the plunge to learn how to swim all over again as an adult recently. For the swimmers out there, you would know that learning to float without any support can easily be one of the most traumatic experiences. It feels like you are adrift in space with no tether. In any case, ten days later, I was nothing if not the champion swimmer who had found his feet in water [pardon the phrase].

Swimming has many wonderful benefits. For starters it makes you want to care about how you look, wearing very little. If you didn’t already have the motivation to have a good body, try being stared at by an elderly aunt or uncle as you make your way into the pool. More seriously, the benefits of swimming are many.

Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. In addition since you have to move both your arms and legs (as I discovered) it is also an excellent form of strength training. Unlike other impact exercises, the water absorbs the weight of your body and so the wear and tear on your body is significantly less. Another great benefit is that you need to learn how to breathe both in and out of the water. This helps build the capacity of your lungs to take in and absorb more oxygen.

Adding swimming to your arsenal toward your goal of fitness is extremely beneficial. I just wish I hadn’t been thrown in, in the first place. Who knows, the world may have just discovered another Michael Phelps.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.