Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young. It is utilized by athletes to stay strong and keep fit when recovering from injury, and there is no fancy equipment needed—just you and a good body of water.
However, swimming has many more benefits that those obvious advantages seen on the surface; its improvements to overall health go much deeper. Here’s a list of swimming benefits:
Swimming Improves Muscle Definition and Strength
Swimmers gain muscle strength throughout the entire body. Where runners see muscle build in their legs, swimmers utilize more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best aerobic exercises to give you a total body workout.
Swimming Helps You Stay Flexible
Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure.
Swimming Reduces Inflammation
While swimming’s cardiovascular benefits of strengthening the heart muscle are common knowledge, aerobic activities, such as swimming, reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build-up in the heart. Benefits for the heart are therefore comprehensive.
Swimming Holds Its Own for Calories Burned
Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but most don’t realize it can be just as efficient as jumping on the treadmill. Depending on the stroke you choose and your intensity, swimming can burn equal or greater calories than running.
Swimming Can Improve Exercise-Induced Asthma
Nothing is as frustrating as trying to exercise and being unable to get your breath. Unlike working out in dry gym air or braving seasonal pollen counts, however, swimming allows you to breath moist air while you train. People who don’t have asthma benefit too, as swimming increases overall lung-volume and teaches good breathing techniques.
Swimming Lowers Stress and Depression
Swimming stretches your body constantly. When combined with the deep rhythmic breathing of swimming, you can experience a relaxation rush that’s very unique to the sport. Swimming is also calming and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the water rushing by helps you focus inwardly and drown out all other distractions. This effect lowers stress and depression naturally.
Salt-Water Swimming Can Be a Beauty Treatment for Skin
Swimming regularly in salt water helps the skin retain moisture. The salt water also detoxifies the skin to promote new cell growth.
Swimming Can Make You Smarter
Of course, all exercise is great for the mind, but can swimming actually make you smarter? There is research evidence to show that swimmers are able to master language development, and advance fine motor skills, confidence, and physical development, at a faster rate than non-swimmers.
Swimming May Just Lengthen Your Life
While all exercise can produce greater health and longevity, swimmers have a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or people who don’t exercise.
There so many benefits to swimming. But most of all it’s just so much fun to do.