The Health Benefits of Swimming

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Swimming is not only a fun, relaxing way to pass the time; it is also very healthy. This summer keep your mind and body in tiptop shape by going for a swim.

Swimming is a popular American pastime. In fact, it’s said to be our nation’s second most popular recreational activity (right after walking). Splashing around and playing games can be fun, but exercising in the water has the greatest health benefits. Swimming can make for great aerobic workouts, which is good for lowering cholesterol, as well as lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Swimming vigorously for an hour can burn up to 650 calories. It can also help relieve arthritis pain as well as tone and strengthen your abdominals, arms, back, hips, legs, and shoulders.

Health Benefits of Swimming

These aren’t the only health benefits you can reap from swimming this summer. Listed below are five additional, unique health benefits of swimming you should consider.

  1. Asthma. Swimming is great for people with asthma. Vigorous workouts cause the bronchial tubes to dry and contract, making it hard to breathe. But when you swim the air is usually moist and warm, making it easier to breathe and exercise. Studies have found that swimming is great for those with asthma as it increases lung volume and teaches proper breathing techniques. It also lowers the risk of asthma symptoms.
  2. Flexibility/Posture. The buoyancy of the water makes it the perfect environment for stretching. Proper swimming techniques require that you stabilize your core (your abdominals, glutes, lower back, upper back, and shoulder region).  This, in turn, improves your posture.
  3. Meditation. Being surrounded by water can be a very spiritual experience. That’s why swimming makes for a great meditative exercise. You can focus on your breathing, the sound of the splashing water, the buoyancy, and your fluid movements. It can all be quite calming and help rid your mind of distractions. In fact, in a study, 70 percent of participants felt mentally refreshed after swimming.
  4. Stress/Depression. Swimming, like any aerobic exercise, can relieve feelings of stress and depression. This is because such exercise “affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin that influence mood and produces ANP, a stress-reducing hormone, which helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety.”
  5. Longevity. Lastly, studies have found that swimmers are more likely to live longer lives. In fact, it is said to add as many as 10 years to your life if you swim regularly, eat right, and avoid tobacco.