Who doesn’t love swimming? You jump in the sea on a hot summer day and go for a relaxing swim – it’s a wonderful feeling. Swimming isn’t just a way to cool off in the summer. It has several benefits for our physical and mental health and can improve our overall well-being.
The way you’ve been taught to swim plays a big role in its benefits. How you pace your strokes, stretch out to gain propulsion, how you breathe, and which technique you use are all major factors that contribute to the benefits of swimming. Swimming is one of the best no-sweat workouts, and another benefit is that it works every muscle on your body while cooling it off at the same time.
Physical Benefits of Swimming
Swimming affects our cardiovascular and skeletomuscular systems. According to a study conducted by scientists from the Harvard Medical School, swimming can strengthen and enlarge the heart, allowing for better airflow and better pumping of blood.
The study examined 45,000 physically active and inactive males and females. It measured their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and many other cardiovascular tests in order to determine which workout is the best.
At the end of the study, the swimmers and runners had the best results. Their cardiovascular health was much better and their longevity was improved as well. Throughout the 13-year study, only 2% of the swimmers passed away, compared to 9% of walkers or 11% of the physically inactive subjects.
This just proves what many experts have been saying all along – that swimming might be the ultimate workout.
Swimming Improves Your Lung Health
If you’re suffering from asthma, picking the right exercise or even finding one that works is pretty hard. However, swimming might be what you need. Compared to other exercises, patients with asthma experienced reduced symptoms even a year after quitting swimming, which shows just how powerful it is.
The pacing of your breathing will allow more oxygen to enter your lungs and increase your lung volume at the same time. Learning how to breathe properly is of key importance in yoga, meditation, and swimming as well. Pace your breathing the right way and you’ll effectively increase your lungs’ capacity.
Improves Your Joint Health
You know what else can swimming improve? The health of your joints. The water’s buoyancy keeps the stress on our joints low to non-existent which means swimming’s perfect for everyone suffering from any kind of joint problems.
In one study, swimming has been found much better for your joints than any other exercise. Swimming in a heated pool is even better. The warm water will help your joints relax even more and reduce irritation and inflammation.
Great for Your Muscular System
It goes without saying that swimming is great for your muscles. It activates every muscle group and even the tiniest muscles in your body and sculpts them like nothing else. Water creates natural resistance to our muscles which makes it a great toner. Of course, the swimming technique you use and the way you stroke affects your muscles differently.
The good news is that proper swimming techniques will work your back, deltoid, abdominal, shoulder, forearm, glutes, and hamstring muscles the most, giving you a proper full-body workout.
Mental Benefits of Swimming
You might not think that swimming can have great benefits on our mind, but it really does. Water itself has a soothing effect on our minds, and swimming is a simple and relaxing workout we don’t approach with the same intensity as weight lifting or any other physical sport.
In more ways than one, swimming is like yoga. The importance of breathing and pacing your strokes and breaths can calm down your racing mind and relieve stress better than most things.
Slows Down the Aging Process
Although there’s no way to fight time stop the aging process, you can at least slow it down with swimming. According to a study from the University of Bloomington, individuals who lead an active lifestyle have a higher quality of life and better overall health. Of all the physically active participants in the study, swimmers had the best results.
The biggest difference between swimmers and any other physically active group was in mental health. Master swimmers didn’t experience the mental ups and downs of other groups, even after the age of 65. Swimmers also proved to be more social than other groups in the study, which suggests an impressive decrease in aging markers. Social interaction has been suggested as a trigger for people to be more physically active and has also been found to improve mental health.
All these studies just prove what many experts have been saying for a while now – that physical activity is the key to better overall health. Swimming, as it turns out, maybe the ultimate full body and mind workout. Increased muscle tone, improved lung capacity, better cardiovascular health, and improved mental health are just a fraction of the benefits of swimming. It’s really one of the best workouts you can give to your body and mind, so put your suit on and dive into better health.