A lot of children, and adults, are put off sport for financial reasons. The mounting costs of all of the equipment just leaves parents with no way of funding their children's hobbies and they are forced to leave their clubs and go back to the sofa and the television. With adults also feeling the pinch with increased costs of living and a lack of spare time, sport is one thing that is often dropped from their list of activities away from the workplace.
Nobody wants that to be the case and the various governments and the bodies looking after each sport are doing their best to continue to raise participation levels. While many sports require very little equipment - you could say football only really needs a pair of boots or trainers and a ball - they do require memberships or subscriptions, and contributions towards the cost of training or transport. Some, however, do actually require very little cost and are highly beneficial in terms of health and fitness with swimming a fine example of this.
You pay a small amount for some Newitts swimming trunks, for example, and go along to your local pool, hand over the fee for entry and you're away. That's it. What's more, there are many benefits here in terms of health and fitness that can be achieved with even the shortest of swimming sessions. Here are just five examples:
Reduce body fat
It has been estimated that the average swimmer can half just half an hour in the pool and they can burn as many as 300 calories. Obviously this all depends on your weight and effort in the pool, but just the average must appeal to you!
Less is more
Swimming for thirty minutes is the equivalent of running or cycling for between 45 minutes and one hour. This can help you to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and because of the reduced strain placed on muscles, swimming helps to do this without the difficulties a lot of people associate with cycling or running, such as hard surfaces, treacherous weather and traffic.
Build lean muscle
When combined with a gym session, or as part of a full training schedule, swimming can help to build lean muscle. Swimming is done predominantly using the upper body, (around 70% of effort in swimming comes from "the core"), so you can help to burn body fat and produce lean muscle around the abdominal and pectoral areas of your body, as well as the biceps and triceps.
Protect bones and joints
Thanks to swimming being essentially "weightless", training in the pool puts the body through 90% less stress than training in an outdoor environment, such as running on the road or grass. This means that the body can become stronger and reduces the risk of injuries to bones, joints, ligaments and tendons.
Training in the pool allows you to build up all-round stamina gradually. Running will improve cardiovascular performance, and cycling will boost your leg muscles, but swimming will work the whole body helping to improve performance at your own pace, increasing the speed or distance when you feel ready.