HDL cholesterol and swimming

The benefits of Swimming:

As one of the most practiced sports in many parts of the world. Swimming offers a wide range of potential benefits to the body, this is also a sport that does not affect the knee in a serious way like many other sports or exercises that are available, avoiding potential issues later in life.
Swimming has the potential to work all the muscles in your body depending on the strokes you use and as such can improve your general strength, but like many sport activities swimming has a great beneficial effect on the HDL cholesterol levels with the added advantage that swimming is fairly easy to get into, unlike for example going to the gym for the first time which is a big step for many people, swimming can be done on your own and you can pretty much start slow and work on your endurance from there on. Swimming is a great way to improve this endurance.

Why should you swim ?
Well swimming has a number of potential health benefits each and every one of them is probably reason enough to get started and keep going.

For example
Improved cholesterol levels
Improved HDL cholesterol
Health benefits to heart and lungs
Because it’s fun ?
is a low impact sport (good for the joints)
is a sport you can practice your entire life(even when your 100years old)
burns calories/improves metabolism
improved immune system
flexibility and muscle strength

to be a little more specific each kind of stroke has its own advantages and here are a few of the more popular styles.

Front crawl(freestyle)
This is often considered to be the fastest of the front primary strokes. This method of strokes has been used since ancient times, but in the western world this method of strokes was first seen in a swimming race held in London 1844. Swum at the time by Native Americans who easily won the race against the British who were using breaststroke. 

The front crawl has a number of benefits:

this kind of strokes is great to tone your gluts, abdominals, shoulders and is the best stroke to improve back strength according to some trainers. And swimming in general is great to improve HDL cholesterol but also has a small effect on total blood cholesterol.

It is a better calorie burner then jogging for those who are good at it, burning up to 600calories for 60minutes. And weight loss in itself is another good way to improve cholesterol levels in the blood.


This is the slowest of the four official styles and considered to be by far the most difficult stroke to do right in terms of technique, due to timing and technique this is also the hardest to teach. The history of this technique going back as far as the stone age where pictures have been found in caves depicting swimmers using this technique in southwestern Egypt not far from Wadi Sora. Variants have been found in Babylonian and Assyrian wall drawings to. Books have been written where this style of strokes show up since as early as 1538 where a man called Nicolas Wynman wrote a book containing a good methodical approach to learning this style to avoid drowning.

The breaststroke has a number of distinct advantages again of course it should be noted that like any other style this has a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels as general any kind of activity tends to promote a healthy cholesterol this one is no exception to cholesterol levels in your blood.

benefits to the breast stroke are :
has a tendency to expand the lungs, some woman claim it will increase the size of breasts, and this stroke has an effect on the chest muscles so they might just be right.
Tones the shoulders
Tones the triceps, hamstrings and legs
Works the inner thigh
Minor reduction to cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol

This kind of stroke burns less calories than the other strokes with “only” up to 360 calories every 60minutes but it should be that this is a long distance style of swimming and you can generally swim like this far longer than freestyle, great for endurance and less for speed.


Also often called the upside down crawl or back crawl this is one of the styles regulated by FINA. The advantage of this stroke is easy breathing but with the added disadvantage of not seeing where you are going so collision may occur. A very ancient style of swimming this style of swimming has been used in competition since 1900 in the Paris Olympics. The backstroke is very similar to the butterfly in terms of speed. The backstroke has a very specific effect and several benefits to the healthy body,

this kind of stroke is very good the following:
Tones the legs and buttocks
Tones arms and shoulders
Tones the stomach area
Minor reduction to cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol
Helps elongate the hip flexors which is a great way to compensate for sitting at a desk all day at work.

This kind of stroke burns up to 480calories every 60minutes if done right, which is more than breaststroke does en less than the freestyle does. Still the effect on cholesterol from movement like this is very good and you should always look for the style you prefer the most to make it easy to keep on swimming.


Last but last of the four primary strokes is the butterfly (no not butterfly effect on cholesterol) but the stroke. The butterfly is one of the more difficult strokes to learn and master, this requires strong muscles and good technique to perform adequately, this technique is the newest swum in competition going back since 1933 and originating out of the breaststroke.

In terms of history this is a very new form of stroke compared to the other three, while there are records found on the other three going as far back as ancient times some from cave drawings, this technique has only been invented by a Australian who lived in 1881 to 1945, his name was Sydney Cavill, moving to America when he followed his brother to San Francisco.

The butterfly technique has several benefits but it is a technique hard to master as a beginner thus while it’s a good technique it may be wise to start with a breaststroke and learn from there,

Benefits :
Minor reduction to cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol
Upper body strength.
Tones the chest, abdominals, arms and triceps and back muscles.
Stretches the body and will increase your flexibility.

While it is a stroke that should not really be tried before you master the other three, it should be noted that this is the most intense stroke of the four and will burn up to 900calories every 60minutes, making this by far the best stroke to use for short but intense exercise and is another great way to improve cholesterol levels.

The effect of a long-term swimming program on body composition, blood lipids and aerobic capacity in 14-19 year old girls with diabetes type 1

This study has 2 groups, one group of nineteen girls aging 14-19 with diabetes type 1 and another group of twenty-eight healthy girls aging 14-18.

Before and after the swimming program the weight, height, body mass index, body fat percentage, four skinfold thickness were calculated. Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides where estimated.

Training sessions where implemented twice a week for fourteen weeks, and the results where :
After fourteen weeks body mass index did not change significantly for both groups but body fat mass was decreased significantly in both healthy and diabetic subjects, there were no significant changes to total cholesterol levels for both groups but HDL was increased significantly in the healthy group by about 9.7 percent.

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