Swimming offers a variety of benefits to mental and physical health. Fifteen are listed below.
1. A whole-body workout
Swimming engages almost every major muscle group, requiring a person to use their arms, legs, torso, and stomach.
- increases the heart rate without putting stress on the body
- improves strength
- tones muscles
- enhances fitness
- helps to manage weight
2. Building cardiovascular strength
Cardiovascular exercise, often referred to as cardio, involves the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. A thorough workout routine, such as one that features swimming, will include this type of exercise.
Research suggests that swimmers have half the mortality rate of inactive people. A study from 2016 indicates that swimming can help to lower blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
3. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels
Some types of exercise may be challenging for people who are new or feel very unfit.
However, swimming allows a person to go at their own pace, and it can be inviting for newcomers.
A person can learn to swim at a very young age, and most swimming pools have a designated area for beginners and people who prefer to swim slowly.
4. A great skill to have
The benefits of learning to swim safely and confidently can extend beyond mental and physical fitness. In some cases, it may even be lifesaving.
5. Good for people with injuries
Having an injury or conditions, such as arthritis, can make it difficult to do high-impact exercise.
Because water gently supports the muscles, swimming is preferred by many who are unable to take part in high-impact, high-resistance exercises.
6. Good for people with disabilities
A physical disability, such as paraplegia, can limit workout options.
Because water provides resistance and support, many people find that swimming is an ideal option.
Because swimming can boost confidence and improve social skills, it may benefit people with mental disabilities.
7. Helping with asthma
In addition to building cardiovascular strength, swimming can increase lung capacity and improve control over breathing.
While the humid air of indoor pools may also help to improve asthma symptoms, some studies indicate that disinfectant chemicals used in pools can make symptoms worse.
They may also increase the likelihood of a swimmer developing the condition.
8. Improving symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
Water keeps limbs buoyant, so people with MS may benefit from the support and gentle resistance that water provides.
One study noted a significant reduction in pain when people with MS took part in a 20-week swimming program.
Participants also reported improvements in MS-related fatigue and depression.
9. Safe during pregnancy
Swimming is a recommended form of exercise for pregnant people.
Added weight can cause joint and muscle pain during pregnancy.
Swimming is especially popular with pregnant people because the water can support this weight.
This helps to feel more comfortable while staying fit.
It is always a good idea to consult a doctor when undertaking a new form of activity during pregnancy.
10. Burning calories
Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories. The amount burned depends on a person’s weight and how vigorously they swim.
Use this calories calculator to determine how many calories are burned while working out.
11. Variety and fun
People tend to get bored with repetitive exercise, but there are many ways to keep swimming interesting.
There are several strokes to master and flotation aids to try. Also, classes in water aerobics and polo, as well as racing and diving, can help to add variety.
12. Helping to improve sleep
A trial involving older adults with insomnia reported improved sleep in those who exercised regularly.
A 2010 review determined that around half of the older adult population reports difficulty sleeping. If accessible, swimming may benefit those who seek better sleep.
13. Boosting moods
Exercise releases endorphins, which improve the mood. Swimming may also boost confidence and social skills, which can impact a person’s self-esteem.
A 2014 pilot study involving people with dementia showed that those who swam regularly in a 12-week period showed an improvement in mood.
14. Managing stress
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It can also redirect the mind away from troubling thoughts.
Though more research is needed, even 20 minutes of physical activity a week may help a person to feel more relaxed.
15. Accessible and affordable
Many towns and cities offer public pools with discounted rates. Some offer free access at certain times or free swimming lessons.
Swimming in a lake or ocean may be an attractive option. Always take safety precautions, such as ensuring supervision, when swimming in open waters.