by Char Young
5 ways swimming can help improve your physical and mental health:
1. Regular swimming can help reduce your risk of major health complications. Exercise, like swimming, which works your cardiorespiratory system, can help reduce the risks of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, various respiratory diseases and some cancers.
2. Swimming is low impact. It can be a great workout for people who have experienced injuries in other sports. It is much easier on the bones and joints of people who have a higher BMI, meaning less risk of injury and increasing the likelihood of adherence to an exercise plan. Additionally swimming can help strengthen joints and improve posture as it strengthens the muscles which support the spinal column, helping those who suffer from back and joint pain.
3. Swimming is a whole body work out. Swimming incorporates not only aerobic exercise, but also strength training too. The water provides resistance as you swim. This resistance, added with the use of nearly all your muscles, means that you can get a more effective work out, compared with other low impact exercises and strength training alone.
4. Swimming can help improve your energy and improve your ability to concentrate. When you swim, it increases your heart rate and heart output – this improves the rate of oxygen and nutrients which are delivered to your muscles and vital organs, as well as the rate at which waste products are removed. Your brain is one of these vital organs that become well oxygenated when you swim – this can help improve your concentration during the day, and the reason why swimming in the morning is so beneficial.
5. Swimming can improve your mental health. Swimming is a meditative exercise – it forces you to take deep breaths and regulate your breathing. Similarly to yoga, swimming can be considered ‘meditative’ in nature. The gentle stretching of muscles, and the repetition of strokes, combined with deep breathing, helps to relax and de-stress. Swimming is so effective some psychotherapists recommend regular swimming as part of their treatment plan.
Char Young is a Triathlete, ICU Nurse and the Social Media Marketer for the Banana Boat Ocean Swim Series. To connect with her, follow her on Instagram @charyoung_nz