Asides being a popular sport, swimming is a great way to keep fit and stay healthy. It is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime as it is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits.
Swimming is called a perfect exercise because you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young.
It is utilized by athletes to stay strong and keep fit when recovering from injury, and there is no fancy equipment needed, all you need to do is to just get into the water and you are good to go.
Here are reasons you should take a big breath, and dive in!
1. It Is Great for Your Lungs
When your face is underwater, oxygen is at a premium. In turn, your body adapts to use oxygen more efficiently. When you swim, you take in more fresh air with every breath and expel more carbon dioxide with every exhalation.
A study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology has also revealed that swimmers have better tidal volume (the amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs during relaxed breathing) compared to runners. This results in lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure, and better running performance.
2. Improves Muscle Definition and Strength
Swimmers gain muscle strength throughout the entire body. Where runners see muscle build in their legs, swimmers utilize more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best aerobic exercises to give you a total body workout.
3. Lowers Stress and Depression
As mentioned above, swimming stretches your body constantly. Combine this with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation. It 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.
Research has also shown that swimming can reverse damage to the brain from stress through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis. So, if you feel like you’re drowning emotionally, jumping in an actual body of water may be exactly what you need to find your feel-good feet again.
4. It Turns Back the Clock
According to research from Indiana University, regular swimmers are biologically 20 years younger than their driver’s licenses say they are. The Scientists also sais that, even up until your 70th birthday, swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to that of your younger self.
5. You Burn More Calories When You Swim Than When You Jog
When you compare swimming to running, you can burn more calories swimming laps around the pool than you run laps for an hour. One hour of vigorous lap swimming can burn as much as 715 calories. The same amount of time running at 5 mph burns only 606 calories.
6. Good For Asthmatic Patients
Swimming is great for people who suffer from chronic lung conditions such as asthma, especially sports-induced asthma. Swimming is the best exercise for asthma patients because the moisture from the water replaces the moisture expelled during vigorous breathing.
7. Swimming Makes You Smarter
Regular swimming improves memory function and thinking skills. This is good not only for the classroom and work but it is beneficial as you age too as it reduces inflammation and insulin resistance in the brain, which fosters new brain cell growth. Swimming also improves mood, anxiety, and stress, which increases the brain’s ability to think more efficiently.
8. Lowers Disease risk
Not only does swimming help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood, it is also kind to your heart and a great form of cardiovascular exercise, so by swimming regularly, you are less likely to develop illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
9. Remedy For Insomnia
People who engage in swimming are unlikely to complain about having a bad night or report sleep problems, this is because swimming helps avoid problems like insomnia and waking too early.
10. Sweat Free
Swimming is sweat-free. As a swimmer, you’ll never get overheated or feel sweaty because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.