The Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival by Daman’s ActiveLife at the Emirates Palace beach received overwhelming response. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Swimming has long been plugged as a great exercise, one that’s easy on the body and good to relieve joint pain. It is also said to strengthen bones. Studies indicate that individuals who frequently swim laps have greater leg bone mass than those who don’t swim at all.

Swimming is the quintessential workout. Its culmination of weight training and aerobics makes it a total-body exercise. The benefits are plenty for all age groups and all physical abilities. It is recommended that UAE residents add a few laps to their regular routine to discharge monotony, tediousness and strengthen muscle and bones.

Bones, in most cases, are implied as lifeless skeleton, but they are living organs that grow and change shape throughout our lives. As bones play a huge role in our general well-being, keeping them healthy is vital. A great diet comprising calcium and vitamin D, accompanied by omega-3-rich foods are essential for building strong bones. In addition, swimming can support the bones beyond what we eat and drink.

Swimming is the only exercise that makes use of all muscles in the body. It has been shown to increase bone strength, especially for women who are entering menopause. And it’s much easier on joints and bones than any other workout.

Osteoporosis - a disease where bones weaken and lose density - is a common sign in older women who are in their menopausal phase. When it comes to finding the right exercises to combat osteoporosis, swimming is often recommended because it is a low-impact exercise.

Many orthopaedics and physical therapists use some form of a water workout for patients with joint and bone ailments. For those who are recovering from joint surgeries too, a workout in the water is ideal.

Research shows that swimming regularly can lower stress hormones, anxiety and depression and improve sleep patterns and overall fitness levels. Swimming is a fun way to unwind and rejuvenate, spend time with friends and family and can serve as a great alternative to help burn calories. An hour of vigorous swimming can burn up to 650 calories.

- The author is consultant, orthopaedics at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery in Dubai