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9 Benefits Of Swimming: Start Swimming Today!

Swimming, unlike other aerobic activities, puts your entire body to work. A lean and flexible body is one of the hallmarks of an avid swimmer. Swimming also improves cardiovascular health, burns a significant amount of calories, and reduces the frequency of exercise-induced asthma. Additionally, it also combats depression and stress.

When it comes to aerobic exercises, swimming is one exercise that stands out from the rest simply because of the wealth of benefits it offers. It’s one ‘super-exercise’ that engages your whole body without putting excess pressure on any specific muscle group or joints. The natural resistance of water, which is 12 times more than air, and buoyancy make it a great exercise for people of all sizes and age. Here are 9 advantages of swimming that will make you hit the pool.

1. Gives You A Lean Body

Swimming is one of the few exercises that puts your whole body to work, especially if you compare it with other aerobic exercises. While your arms pull and the legs kick, your core also is strengthened. The water resistance makes any movement harder adding to your overall strength. No wonder professional swimmers have one of the leanest and most toned bodies in the sporting world.

2. Increases Your Flexibility

Weight training works by isolating one muscle group at a time. Swimming, on the other hand, makes your body do a broad range of motion which helps loosen and flex your joints and ligaments. When you reach, stretch, twist, and pull through the water, your muscles and ligaments go through several cycles of stretches, which makes your body more flexible over time.

3. Helps You Lose Weight

If your goal is to lose weight by burning excess calories, swimming is one of the most effective ways to do it. The exact number of calories you burn will depend on your own physiology and the intensity with which you exercise. But, on an average, swimming for 30 minutes burns up to 180–266 Calories.1

4. Reduces Stress

Imagine experiencing a runner’s high and the relaxing calm of yoga in a single exercise. That’s what swimming can do for you. While other aerobic exercises like running also help your body release endorphin (the feel-good hormone), the rhythmic breathing and water gushing by during swimming also create a sense of calm. To add to this, research has also shown that swimming induces brain-healing through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, a process where the brain replaces cells lost through stress.2

5. Reduces Heart Inflammation

Being a vigorous cardiovascular exercise, swimming is known to improve cardiac health and increase stamina. But a lesser known benefit of swimming is that it reduces inflammation, which can lead to many chronic ailments. Research has shown that swimming decreases inflammation that results in atherosclerosis build-up in the heart.3

6. Sleep More Soundly

There is nothing more refreshing than the feeling of freshness after a good night’s sleep. And swimming can help you get it even if you’d consider it a fringe benefit. A poll by the National Sleep Association found that people who undertake vigorous exercise such as swimming are twice as likely to have a good night’s sleep.4 They’re least likely to experience sleep problems like insomnia. One more reason to dive in? We think so.

7. Get Smarter

As unreal as it sounds, swimming can actually make you smarter. A study conducted by the Griffith Institute of Educational Research in Australia suggests that children involved in swimming lessons at an early age reach important milestones sooner than children who don’t swim.5 According to Griffith’s study, language development, confidence, and physical development are all achieved sooner in kids who swim. Even if you are an adult, it’s encouraging enough to know that swimming helps in brain development.

8. Live Longer

While swimming may not be able to help you if you’re in an accident, research says that it sure can prevent premature death. A study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Education and Research concludes that swimming can reduce the risk of mortality by about 50%.6

9. Reduce Exercise-Induced Asthma

If you suffer from asthma, then seasonal changes, dust, and pollen could trigger an attack when exercising outdoors. When the dry gym air also does not help, swimming could be a safer option. According to several studies, swimming could reduce the severity of exercise-induced asthma by minimizing respiratory heat loss.7 Even if you don’t have asthma, swimming can help you by increasing your lung-capacity and improving your breathing.

If you don’t exercise, swimming is a great way to kick-start your journey to becoming fit. However, if you’re already a gym rat, swimming can give your regular weekly workout the boost it needs while adding more variety to your exercise routine. You can even make it a fun activity by asking your friends and family to join you. The benefits of swimming are far too many to ignore and if you aren’t a swimmer yet, it’s time you dived in.

References   [ + ]

1. Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.
2. Jiang, Pei, Rui-Li Dang, Huan-De Li, Li-Hong Zhang, Wen-Ye Zhu, Ying Xue, and Mi-Mi Tang. “The impacts of swimming exercise on the hippocampal expression of neurotrophic factors in rats exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014 (2014).
3. How swimming can help you stay strong. British Heart Foundation.
4. Poll Finds Exercise Key To Good Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. 2013
5. Swim Study Reveals A Smart Pool Of Talent. Griffith Institute for Educational Research. 2013
6. Chase, Nancy L., Xuemei Sui, and Steven N. Blair. “Swimming and all-cause mortality risk compared with running, walking, and sedentary habits in men.” International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education 2, no. 3 (2008): 3.
7. Beskind, Dan. “Swimming and asthma: Benefits and deleterious effects: Bar-Or O, Inbar O Sports Med 14: 397–405 Dec 1992.” Annals of Emergency Medicine 22, no. 5 (1993): 870.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.