Outdoor access to bodies of water during summer months tends to bring attention to swimming, but this is an exercise that is truly beneficial year-round. The health benefits are numerous, and it’s great for all skill levels. Young and old can enjoy this type of workout with friends and family — and you might even forget that you’re getting a killer workout because you’re having so much fun. Whether you’re enjoying the beach or a lake outside in warmer months, or hitting up a public pool or workout class in colder months, you’ll be baffled at the various good-for-you benefits you can get during a good swim.
Swimming is easy on the joints and is a great, low impact form of exercise
Swimming is a low-impact exercise, meaning that the buoyancy you achieve in the water assists in relieving pressure on the joints. Because of this, people who suffer from joint pain, arthritis or various other injuries can feel relief while they’re in the water.
Because this low-impact exercise relieves pressure on the joints, it’s a go-to exercise for those recovering from injuries. This physical therapist-approved exercise can also help with range of motion, so it could be particularly beneficial for people recovering from shoulder, knee or ankle injuries.
Swimming is a full body workout
Everyone knows that you’ll be working your arms and legs during a swim, but it’s truly a total body workout. Your glutes and core work to stabilize your body with each kick, and the large back muscles are strengthened through the rotation motions used with each stroke. Your whole body is working the entire time you’re swimming.
Whether you’re a beast in the gym, you’re expecting or you’re injured, swimming is a safe and scalable option for a workout. It’s even one you can continue to do in your later years as you age. Since gravity is nearly removed from the equation, you’re putting less physical stress on your joints, and you’re able to focus on getting stronger. If you’ve been sidelined from your favorite high-impact workouts due to temporary physical limitations, get your groove back with a few swim classes a week to keep yourself motivated!
Since you’re controlling your breathing during this type of exercise, it improves your lung capacity over time. Also, because it is a cardio workout, it lowers your risk of heart disease.
Swimming is safe to do while pregnant
As with any type of exercise while pregnant, you should consult your doctor to make sure swimming is right for you. However, swimming is generally an exercise that allows women to exercise comfortably because the water helps alleviate joint pain caused by pregnancy. It’s also safe to do in all trimesters.
Swimming reverses the signs of aging
You’re reading it right. Unlike topical anti-aging skincare, swimming helps turn back the clock on your body from the inside out. Swimming promotes lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and builds stronger cognitive functions, which correlates with holding your body’s physical chemistry in a younger and healthier state. It’s never too late to start; you can begin to see results in just a few months of regular swim sessions.
Swimming lowers stress levels more than other workouts
If you think it’s just the amount of physical effort you put into your workouts that help de-stressing, you’ll want to hear this. Being submerged in water has a special benefit for stress and anxiety. If you’ve ever tried a float session, you’re likely familiar with the concept of sensory deprivation. The same concept applies here. Your body is exposed to far fewer sensory aggressors like outside noise and movement, allowing you to feel a deeper sense of calmness. If you’re feeling extra stressed during the week, swap out your cardio class for a swim session instead.
Swimming increases your brain power
The body isn’t the only thing that benefits from swimming. This sport has been known to reduce anxiety levels and can even have positive effects on sleep patterns. Whether it’s the rhythmic strokes or concentrating on your breathing, swimming has meditative-like qualities that benefit overall brain health.
Studies have shown that brain activity is increased up to 15% in water-based workouts compared to other forms of exercise. This is due to the fact that you’re submerged face down, allowing more blood to flow to your chest and up to your head. If you feel scatterbrained due to work stresses or life in general, swimming can be a natural way to get your sharpness back—without the need for brain teasers or supplements.
Swimming is a natural energy booster.
If you can’t fathom the idea of foregoing your morning coffee, this workout will have you feeling otherwise. Since you’re always moving in order to stay afloat, your mind and body work a bit harder during a swim. Inactivity is a major cause for decreased energy levels, which explains why you feel so exhausted from long days at work or sitting on a plane for several hours. Trade your coffee for a 30-minute swim and see the difference in your energy level at the end of the day!