10 Health Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is an amazing form of fitness for people of all ages. Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. If you already know how to swim, it can be easy and inexpensive. You can go at your own pace. Swimming helps not only with your physical health to stay in shape, but the benefits also extend to mental health.
Swimming has many more benefits that those obvious advantages seen on the surface; its improvements to overall health go much deeper. So, let’s take a big breath, and dive into the 10 benefits of swimming:
- Total Body Workout
Swimming is a great total body workout! When you swim, you engage almost every major muscle group requiring you to use your arms, legs, core, and focus on balancing. Swimming regularly will improve your strength, tones muscle, enhances fitness, and increases your metabolism.
- Swimming helps you stay flexible
Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still stretch on your own, but repetitive stretching found in your various strokes also helps with flexibility.
- Works your insides, too
While your muscles are getting a good workout, your cardiovascular system is, too. Swimming makes your heart and lungs strong. Swimming is so good for you that researchers share it may even reduce your risk of death. Compared with inactive people, swimmers have about half the risk of death Trusted Source. Some other studies have shown that swimming may help lower blood pressure Trusted Source and control blood sugar Trusted Source.
- Lifelong Fitness
Swimming is a unique sport because it truly is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Some types of exercise can be challenging or impossible to complete for people of different ages and skill levels.
Swimming allows you to go at your own pace and is inviting for newcomers. It really is the only sport you can do from cradle to grave.
- Swimming holds its own for calories burned
Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but most don’t realize it can be just as efficient as jumping on the treadmill. Depending on the stroke you choose and your intensity, swimming can burn equal or greater calories than running.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about sweat in your eyes. For example: for 10 minutes of swimming you burn 60 calories with the breast stroke, 80 calories with the backstroke, 100 calories with freestyle, and an impressive 150 with the butterfly stroke.
For perspective, running a 10-minute mile burns around 100 calories. Therefore, a strong 30-min butterfly speed session can burn 150 more calories than running a 5K in the same time frame.
- Good option for people with asthma
The humid environment of indoor pools makes swimming a great activity for people with asthma. Not only that, but breathing exercises associated with the sport, like holding your breath, may helpTrusted Source you expand your lung capacity and gain control over your breathing.
Some studies suggest that swimming may increase your risk for asthma because of the chemicals used to treat pools. Talk to your doctor about the potential risks of swimming if you have asthma, and, if possible, look for a pool that uses salt water instead of chlorine.
- Great for People with Disabilities
For people with a physical disability like multiple sclerosis (MS), the water is a great way to exercise. There are many physically disabled athletes who love to swim, and pools around the world are improving their facilities to make them more accessible.
Swimming can also be a great exercise for those with mental disabilities, as it helps boost confidence, and emphasizes focus on body positioning.
- Swimming lowers stress and depression
Love that natural endorphin kick? While many talk about a runner’s high, swimming can bring about all those feel-good emotions too.
In addition to the happy hormones, you also can feel a relaxation response similar to yoga. As I mentioned previously, swimming stretches your body constantly. Combine this with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation rush that’s very unique to the sport.
Swimming is also calming and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the water rushing by helps you focus inward and drown out all other distractions. This lowers stress and depression naturally.
- Helps Improve Your Sleep
The more you swim, the better you will sleep! Trials have been conducted with adults who have insomnia, and they reported improved sleep for those who exercised regularly.
Specifically, swimming is great because it engages your entire body, so it encourages a good sleep pattern to recover all your muscles.
- Safe during Pregnancy
While pregnant, women very often experience joint and muscle pain due to drastic body changes and weight gain. Swimming is a wonderful exercise during pregnancy because it is safe, low-impact, and is easy on the joints because you float in water!
While pregnant you can swim pretty much right up until delivery. Always consult a doctor before starting any new fitness program.