According to the U.S. department of Health and Human services, two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity (such as swimming) can significantly reduce the risk of chronic illness and disease.
In addition to disease prevention, the benefits of swimming are many. Whether you’re swimming for the first time or have been for your lifetime, here are five ways that swimming can improve the quality of your life:
1. Healthy, Strong Body
Swimming works, inside and out. Beginning with your heart. Much like running or biking swimming can be both aerobic and anaerobic. You can make it what you need or want in a workout. Aerobic training is more threshold, ie hold your heart rate in a zone and build strength and endurance. Anaerobic is more punishing, less oxygen more intensity and high levels of fatigue. Both have benefits. You can never fully isolate aerobic or anaerobic, you will always be training using both, but one will dominate more than the other depending on your training routine. Breathing becomes rhythmic and cyclical also training and increasing lung strength and capacity.
While you are increasing your cardiovascular and lung strength you are also building muscle and losing fat. Losing excess weight regardless of your chosen activity will always help promote healthy bones and joints, swimming can take this a step further. Swimming can help lengthen muscles as well. What does this do? If you take care of them before and after a training session by stretching you will reap the benefits of flexibility. It is a bigger deal than it sounds. Increased flexibility can ward off injuries as well as general wear and tear on joints.
2. Feel Better Emotionally
Endorphins! These joyful little chemical burst out from within spreading their happy all through your body. The benefits of endorphins are not unique to swimming, but their influence is often amplified from it. Scientific studies credit endorphins with improved self-esteem and feelings of euphoria. Endorphins are also associated with relieving stress and improving sleep if you commit to making the lifestyle choice to be active.
3. Peace of Mind
Let the water be your sky. The time you spend in the water is yours. There is little to no sound and the only person you have to think about is you. Allow it and turn off your brain for some recovery. Leave everything else at the door, you can pick it back up on your way out if you want it. Swimmers often excel at visualizing because of the time they spend in their own head. They are also more in tune with themselves because of the frequent self-talks they perform daily at the pool.
4. Increased Energy
Combo a good workout with the refreshing cool of a pool and the weightlessness achieved there and you are bound to feel good. Despite the common fall back of “I am too tired to work out,” completing a workout will often give you a boost that may even have the ability to completely turn around your day. No matter what time of day you choose to hit the water the effect can propel you through the remainder of your day.
5. Pain Alleviation
Take a load off. Really. If you suffer from pain during your workouts or in your day to day life try switching up your routine. Swimming is a no contact sport. Unlike running or weight lifting there is no impact on your joints. Likewise if you suffer from pain via tight muscles swimming can help you lengthen those muscles and relieve pressure. Swimming is only as hard as you make it. If you are rehabbing or trying to get back in shape you can build up your intensity as you overcome pain or drop weight. Swimming is one of the most adaptable fitness programs available and anyone can do it.
How has swimming improved your life? Leave a comment and let us know! If you’re looking to read more about swimming, check out these articles: