Swimming is the fourth most popular physical activity in North America, and with good reason! Shown to decrease the risk of serious illness while reducing symptoms in persons suffering from a variety of health conditions, swimming is a great aerobic exercise that improves the use of arthritic joints and decreases associated pain.
Swimming can also improve the quality of life of the elderly by helping them maintain flexibility and strength while avoiding injury and disability.
If you’re not convinced to jump in the nearest pool to increase your health yet, here are five additional benefits you’d get from taking up swimming!
Managing Chronic Illness
Aerobic exercise, especially swimming, has been shown to strengthen the heart by making it larger and more efficient at pumping. This leads to better blood flow and greatly combats the body’s inflammatory responses that have been linked to heart disease.
Doctors have suggested that as little as 30 minutes of swimming per day could reduce coronary heart disease by up to 30-40%. This small amount of time spent in a pool also reduces blood pressure and increases insulin sensitivity.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics should get at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercises like swimming in order to aid with their glycemic control.
Effective Aerobic Exercise
Exercising in the water is a great way to build muscle without causing stress to the skeletal system of the body.
While submerged up to the neck the human body is 90% lighter, which makes it much easier to exercise for longer periods of time. Because the water is providing more resistance to your motions than air, you’re actually building muscle faster than you would be outside of the water.
Improves Mood and Mental Health
A relaxing and pleasant way to exercise, swimming has been shown to have great influence over a person’s mood. It can help to decrease anxiety and depression in people suffering from fibromyalgia and improves the mental health of pregnant women and young mothers. Studies have even demonstrated the power of swimming to help build closer family connections with children affected by developmental disabilities.
Lessen the Symptoms of Asthma
For those who suffer from asthma attacks, swimming provide a great opportunity to get your exercise in a moist environment. Many other exercises take place in indoor facilities with dry, processed air that can increase the risk of asthma attacks and worsen other symptoms, but pools provide the ideal atmosphere. Swimming also regularly helps to improve snoring, symptom severity, mouth-breathing, and the frequency of attacks.
A great exercise for keeping weight under control, swimming burns plenty of calories. Your average gym machine only targets one set of muscles at a time, but swimming is a whole body workout that increases flexibility and helps you keep trim. The amount of calories you burn will depend on how quickly you go and which stroke you use: 10 minutes of breast stroke burns a healthy 60 calories, but the same 10 minutes of butterfly can burn up 150!