Whether you’re looking for a new way to get in shape or you just want to relax, swimming can help you stay healthy. It’s a low-impact, gentle workout that can also improve your mood and help you sleep better.
Swimmers have been known to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering their blood pressure and improving their fitness levels. The lungs also benefit from this exercise, according to a report from Swim England, and it’s an ideal choice for people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Mental health: Like any type of exercise, swimming can be good for your mood because it releases endorphins that boost feelings of well-being. A UK study showed that after swimming regularly for four months, participants reported an increase in positivity and energy levels. This was likely due to the release of serotonin, a happy hormone that is found in high amounts in the brain.
Brain function: Research shows that regular swimming can improve cognitive functioning and enhance short- and long-term memory. It can also help to improve your concentration and mental focus, as well as decrease your anxiety level.
Social impact: As a sport, swimming is often a social event, so it can be a fun way to spend time with friends or family. It’s also a great way to meet new people and make lasting friendships.
Safety: While swimming is one of the safest forms of exercise, it’s important to be aware of your limits and know what to do if you need help. Young children, for example, are at high risk of drowning so make sure you watch them carefully and keep them physically near you at all times.
Avoid inclement weather: During inclement weather conditions, such as heavy rain, it’s best to stay out of the water. This is because it can be difficult to move your limbs and paddle when the water is cold or damp.
Learn to swim:
Learning to swim is a skill that can take time, so it’s best to start by choosing one type of stroke and then focusing on perfecting it. Once you’ve mastered a stroke, you can move onto the next.
Front crawl and back crawl typically come the fastest, though breaststroke and butterfly will probably take longer. Each of these strokes has its own set of skills and techniques that are necessary to master.
If you’re a beginner, it’s worth taking lessons before diving into the water. Many community pools offer learn-to-swim programs.
You’ll need to know how to hold your breath underwater, and you should practice this before you start swimming regularly. The key is to consciously take in deep, controlled breaths, while keeping pressure behind your nose and not puffing out your cheeks.
It’s common to feel stiff or tense when you’re working out in a pool. If this is you, try a stretching routine before you begin your swim. Just a few minutes of this can be enough to relax you and ease the tension in your muscles.