Swimming is one of the best ways to work out your entire body and cardiovascular system. Experts recommend that adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Swimming is one fun way to ensure you’re compliant regardless of your age and fitness level. Here are some physical and mental health benefits of swimming.
1. Whole-body workout
Swimming truly does work out the whole body requiring a person to use their arms, legs, torso, and stomach. It also:
- Increases heart rate without putting stress on the body
- Improves strength
- Tones muscles
- Enhances fitness
- Helps manage weight
2. Builds cardiovascular strength
Swimming makes your heart and lungs strong. It is so good at this that researchers say it may even reduce the risk of death. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. One study found swimmers had lower mortality than men who were sedentary, walkers, or runners. It may also help lower blood pressure.
3. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels
Some types of exercise can be challenging at the beginning for people who are new to it and who feel unfit. Swimming, however, allows one to go at their own pace and can be inviting to newcomers. Even people at a very young age can swim safely in areas designated for them and others who may prefer to swim slowly.
4. Good for people with injuries, disabilities, arthritis, and other conditions
Swimming is easy on the joints and a great workout for people with arthritis, injuries, disabilities, or any other issue that makes high-impact exercises difficult. Swimming does not put excess strain on a person’s joints and the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on weight-bearing joints.
Swimming may even help reduce some of the pain and improve recovery from an injury. One study found that people with osteoarthritis reported significant reductions in joint pain and stiffness and experienced less physical limitation after engaging in activities like swimming and cycling.
5. Helps with asthma
Swimming can help increase lung capacity and improve breathing control. The humid air of indoor pools may also help improve asthma. Some studies, however, suggest that the chemicals used in pools may worse the symptoms for some and may even increase the likelihood of a swimmer developing the condition. Health: Asthma – Causes, Symptoms And Management
6. Improves multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord causing a wide range of potential symptoms including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance. Water keeps the limbs buoyant so people with MS may benefit from the support and gentle resistance that water provides. Participants in a study reported improvements in MS-related fatigue and depression after swimming.
7. Safe during pregnancy
Swimming is a recommended form of exercise for pregnant women and can be performed in all three trimesters. Pregnant women who swam during their early to mid-pregnancy had a lower risk of preterm labour and congenital defects. One study showed no adverse effect in swimming in chlorinated water while pregnant.
Added weight can cause joint and muscle pain during pregnancy and swimming is popular because it supports this weight.
It is important to speak to your doctor though before starting any form of exercise or activity just in case there are any restrictions specific to your condition.
8. Burns calories
One of the most effective ways to burn calories is swimming. A gentle swim can burn more than 200 calories in just a half-hour which is more than double that of walking for a comparative period.
9. Regulates blood sugar
One study found that swimming three times per week improved glucose (sugar) control and insulin sensitivity in the test premenopausal women.
10. Has numerous mental health benefits
Like other forms of exercise, swimming releases endorphins which are feel-good hormones that increase positivity and bring about a sense of wellbeing and happiness.
It has a positive impact on mental health improving mood, increasing self-esteem, lowering the risk of depression, slowing dementia and cognitive decline, improving sleep, and reducing stress. It also significantly reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is a great way to relax your body and soothe your mind.
Find a neighbourhood pool and start reaping the benefits of this fun, low-pressure, high benefits workout.
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Here are other ways you can exercise your body and mind