Swimming is one of the few sports that demand you to leave the outside world, outside.
Many people say that by simply being in the water, they feel more relaxed and less stressed.
1. It improves your mental health
Regular exercise helps reduce anxiety and depression, as it releases “feel good” hormones and keeps our brains working in a healthy way.’
‘Learning to swim can allow you the opportunity to swim in beautiful places outdoors which many people find to be memories they cherish.’
Research has found that hitting the pool is comparable to yoga in terms of reducing anxiety and stress over a 12-week period.
2. It increases your fitness and muscle mass
Swimming for fitness is easy to do, you simply speed up.
Plus, another benefit of swimming is that it can help build muscle.
It offers the potential to tone up pretty much everywhere.
Someone who starts working hard in the pool could expect to see more definition in their arms, upper body and thighs in particular.
It’s all thanks to swimming providing a consistent resistance pattern so muscles are taxed hard and therefore they “tone up”.
3. It’s lower impact than other forms of cardio
Sore knees and ankles a common complaint of yours?
Well, know you’re not alone.
High-intensity workouts can exacerbate already aching joints (think running or super challenging cardio home workouts) but swapping a few sessions for some pool laps could do you a world of good.
A runner will exert anything from 5-10 times their body weight through their hips, ankles and knees.
But as water naturally holds you up, it can reduce your moving body weight by up to 90 percent, this reduces the stresses and impact on your joints, muscles and bones by the same 90 percent. Which is huge!’
Yes, running or cycling will usually burn more calories than swimming.
A benefit of swimming is that it keeps your heart rate up without stressing your body.
This type of exercise is known as steady-state training (LISS) and helps to build stamina.
4. Swimming could help you drift off more quickly
Aerobic exercise (e.g. any cardio activity) has been linked to better sleep quality and improved sleep duration, which is another benefit of swimming.
Music to our sleepy ears.
According to one study, getting sweaty is the passport to a good night’s sleep – something we absolutely love to hear.
The results indicated that when embracing regular exercise, plus good sleep hygiene, you can improve sleep quality, mood and quality of life.
5. It’s generally a pregnancy-safe exercise
Firstly, all pregnancies are different – checking with your GP about what’s what before you start any exercise regime is crucial.
That said, generally speaking, one of the major benefits of swimming is that it’s a pregnancy-safe form of exercise.
The water supports you and bump and can help to reduce swelling in the ankles and feet.
And that’s not all.
Research has found that pregnant women who swim during their early to mid-pregnancy can have a lower risk of preterm labour and congenital defects.
6. There’s more than one way to do it
Unlike other forms of exercise where perhaps, there’s little variety, there are various strokes you can use to keep your swimming workout fresh, including:
Changing up your stroke will often change the muscles worked
7. It can reduce stress
Exercise is a well-known mood booster, but did you know that another benefit of swimming is that it can help mitigate the effects of stress, chemically, too?
When you exercise, your body naturally reduces stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline whilst simultaneously creating feel-good endorphins – nature’s mood lifters.
If you’re stuck between work and a stressed place, carve out some time to move, in the pool or otherwise.
What’s more, as above, research shows that swimming could be just as effective as yoga for alleviating depression and anxiety.
8. You can create definition with different strokes
One of the major benefits of swimming is that water works to create whole-body resistance.
Pushing in any of the major strokes will work out your whole body, but some will work certain areas a little more than others.
It may be slower, but it is the best stroke for an all-over body workout.
Helping to strengthen the upper body, back and chest, it also involves breathing out into the water which increases the resistance on your chest, which can improve your lung functions.
And if that wasn’t enough it also helps to tone the thighs and lower legs more than other strokes, due to its more complex leg movement.
The speedy stroke, it is also the easiest one for most to master.
Lucky then that it like all strokes, it shapes your whole body, however its USP is that it is the one to really tone your upper body.
Front crawl uses the deltoids which are the muscles in our shoulders, the side of the back, the triceps and bicep muscles of our arms.
The elegant stroke.
Nail a good technique with this one and it can help improve your overall posture.
It is also excellent for core strengthening and opening up the chest muscles.
Backstroke is the one to help shape your upper back, lower back and thighs.
The calorie burner.
If you can keep it up, it is undoubtedly the stroke that burns the most calories.
You need a lot of power for Butterfly, as it needs strong triceps and bicep muscles.
It can help strengthen the shoulder muscles as you rotate the shoulders, and this develops the deltoid muscles.
As well as the back and chest, it takes a lot out of your legs and is one of the keystrokes that focuses on building a strong core.
Before you dive in:
Make sure you know how to swim.
Choose a safe environment and ensure the water safety of children.
Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before entering the water.
Have plenty of fluids on hand and drink regularly.
Don’t overdo it if you’re just starting out. – Online.