Image credit: Shaun Chiet/SportSG
Synchronised swimming is a strenuous, yet skilful sport. It requires massive levels of endurance as swimmers often have to hold their breaths for minutes at a time. When compared to other sports, the aerobic capacities and capabilities of synchronised swimmers come in a close second only to long-distance runners.
The sport places significant demands on the athlete's cardiovascular and energy systems, both aerobic and anaerobic. Abdominal core muscle strength and endurance are boosted due to the strain of having to stay afloat in water while performing complex lifts and poses.
Synchronised swimmers spend a lot of time training out of the water as well. Lung capacity can be increased through long-distance running, cycling and free swimming, while muscle mass can be built with weight training and circuit training. Flexibility can be improved with Pilates, gymnastics and ballet exercises.
Increasing lung capacity helps bodies absorb and make use of oxygen better. Improved lung function also guards against the onset of illnesses. Therefore, a larger lung capacity not only improves stamina and endurance, it also results in better overall health.
Muscles take up less space than fats, so building muscle mass helps keep your body looking lean and toned. Building muscle mass is also the only healthy way to fill out a skinny frame. Lastly, building muscle mass can help you burn more calories daily, as much as 15 percent more, thus helping support weight maintenance or loss.
Many synchronised swimmers implement Pilates into their training because it strengthens the core muscles, stabilises the spine, and increases overall flexibility. Even as a beginner, Pilates gives you a strong centre by strengthening the smaller, supporting muscles to help you move more efficiently.
There are other benefits besides the physical when training for synchronised swimming. It trains you to stay focused because you are multitasking when performing a routine. Existing cognitive skills like counting, memorisation, rhythm, coordination and visualisation all tend to improve over training.
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