However, as swimmers ‘exercise in a horizontal position, their hearts do not have to fight gravity to get blood back to the heart, unlike upright runners.’
If you’ve ever wondered how the act of swimming affects your heart compared to land-based activities, a recent study may be of interest to you. Published in Frontiers in Physiology last November, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada and other institutions took a look at the structure and function of elite swimmers’ and runners’ hearts.
Swimming is unique in the fact that our bodies are immersed in water, are in a prone position and both upper and lower limbs are involved. Add in the fact that breath holding is a big component of the activity and swimming is truly a different animal than, say, running or rowing.