A Speedo poster once said: “You’re only one swim away from a good mood.” But there’s lots more to be gained from swimming than an improved state of mind. In fact, there’s a whole host of health benefits associated with water-based exercise.
So here’s a round-up of 9 of the most powerful and impressive ways swimming can improve your health.
Makes for a healthier heart
Studies have shown that swimmers have lower heart rates, more stable blood pressure, and improved circulation and breathing when compared with their non-swimming counterparts.
This is very good news for the heart-conscious. And as it’s a cardio exercise (and an excellent one, at that), swimming will work your heart harder than normal, shaping and strengthening it until it’s as healthy as ever.
Lowers your risk of diabetes
It’s estimated that over 4 million people in the UK are living with diabetes.
A study has shown that men can reduce their risk of diabetes by 6% for every 500 calories burned per week through aerobic exercise (that’s roughly 45 minutes of breast stroke). And that women can reduce their risk by 16% simply by partaking in vigorous exercise just once a week.
Learning a proper breathing technique is one of the best things you can do for your body. Some health benefits of deep breathing include better circulation (increased oxygen to the heart), improved respiratory system function, and reduced anxiety.
Swimming not only increases your lung capacity, but it forces you to adopt a proper breathing technique.
As regular swimming leads to a lower heart rate, improved blood pressure, and more efficient functioning of the lungs, breathing, by extension, becomes much easier.
Like most forms of exercise, swimming releases endorphins, and endorphins lift your mood. As well as this, swimming is unique in that the rhythmic and flowing style of the exercise itself produces a calming effect. So you’ll feel happier and more relaxed.
Swimming on a regular basis could help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as promoting healthier sleep.
Swimming could extend your life
For anyone hoping to live well into old age, it looks like swimming could hold the answer.
A 32 year-long study following over 40,000 men, aged between 20 and 90, found that those who swam had a 50% lower death rate than runners, walkers, and those who didn’t exercise at all. This is an incredible result, and with such a huge margin it’s hard to deny that there may be something in it…
Your body engages lots of muscles when swimming. Upper body, lower body, hands, arms, legs, feet, head. All your limbs have to work together in order to not only keep you afloat but keep you moving. So coordination is crucial for success in the water.
Learning to move the different parts of your body separately, at varying speeds, in perfect rhythm, is great for building coordination skills.
Builds core strength
Swimming is great for your core. Despite the fact that it’s generally heavier on the upper body, it engages so many muscles that the core naturally gets an excellent workout.
Not only that, but it can also help make you lean and toned. Swimmer’s shoulders, anyone?
The range of motion required to swim, along with the unusual muscle movements, can aid and encourage flexibility. The fact that there’s little stress being put on your joints and bones means that your muscles can relax. And when your muscles are relaxed, there’s more opportunity for them to stretch out.
Swimming can also be a great way of recovering after a more intense workout, as swimming can help prevent muscle tightness.
Helps you sleep
In a study focussing on older adults suffering from chronic insomnia, participants reported boosts in sleep quality and overall quality of life after engaging in regular aerobic exercise.
Considering that around one third of people in the UK are thought to be affected by insomnia, regular exercise such as swimming could be a great help.
If you want to take the plunge and start swimming towards a healthier lifestyle, why not take a look at our prices and membership plans.