Just Keep Swimming, Says Health Experts

Swimming is among the most popular sports in the world. Whether you swim to compete, to have fun, or both — this low-impact activity has several physical and mental health benefits.

What is Competitive Swimming?

People who are passionate about swimming often take it to a competitive level. This activity provides the health benefits of a strenuous workout, as well as the enjoyment and thrill of competition. The main techniques or strokes in competitive swimming include freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, and backstroke. The distances swum in competitive swimming varies from 50 meters in a pool to further distances in open waters.

What is Swimming for Recreation?

For more laid back individuals, swimming is more of a recreational activity. Recreational swimming not only provides the same physical benefits of a low-impact workout, but it is also a great way to nurture your mental health. Some standard swimming techniques in recreational swimming include freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and sidestroke.

What are the Health Benefits of Swimming?

Both competitive swimming and swimming for recreation are effective workouts because they require you to move your entire body against the resistance of water.

Swimming is an all-around physical activity because it:

  • Keeps your heart rate up
  • Tones muscles and improves strength
  • Builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Keeps the heart and lungs strong
  • Provides a complete body workout, since almost all your muscles are active when swimming

Are There Other Benefits of Swimming?

The many other benefits of this full-body workout include:

  • Providing a fun way to cool down on a hot day
  • Being a relaxing form of exercise
  • Exercising without the sweat
  • Reducing high levels of stress
  • Improving posture, coordination, and balance
  • Enhancing flexibility
  • Giving good low-impact therapy for some injuries and health conditions
  • Being available in many locations, such as local swimming pools, beaches, resorts, lakes, dams, and rivers. However, always ensure that the environment you and your family swim in is safe.

What are the Unusual Benefits of Swimming?

Some facts are harder to believe than others. But according to scientific studies, swimming can achieve the following:

  • Becoming biologically 20 years younger. Forget the fountain of youth. According to research from Indiana University, swimming affects cholesterol levels, blood pressure, cardiovascular performance, muscle mass, cognitive functioning, central nervous system health, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to your younger self.
  • Being smarter. A Journal of Physiology study notes that blood flow to the brain increased by 14 percent when people submerged themselves in water up to their hearts. The researchers consider the water’s pressure on the chest cavity responsible for the phenomenon.

What are Some General Tips for Swimming?

Before you dive in and splash around:

  • Choose a safe environment
  • Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30
  • Warm up by stretching your muscles and joints before entering the water
  • Make sure you are confident in your swimming skills
  • Hydrate and drink plenty of water
  • Do not overdo it, especially if you are starting out

Ready, set, plunge to reap the amazing benefits of swimming. If you don’t have a private pool, many public pools throughout the United States and are open to everyone. During summer, many centers even offer swimming lessons for people of all ages, as well as fun training and exercise sessions.