As you know, I’m all about switching up exercises each week to keep the body guessing and to continue working different muscles in order to get stronger and healthier. I was NEVER a swimmer, and, in fact, I turned my nose up at the idea of swimming in high school when I had to choose a fall sport to get out of PE! Anything where I had to stick my head under the water for long periods of time was a no-go for me. Then when I joined the triathlon team in college, it was literally either sink or swim! So I learned how to swim… And oh my gosh… I’ve never looked back! Great for both mind and body, here’s why spending more time in the water is a seriously smart choice… (not to mention, it’s a great way to get a tan and epic total body exercise outdoors without worrying about the summer heat! In my opinion, the HOTTER it is outside, the BETTER for swimming!)
1. Swimming helps to manage weight
Expect to burn around 367 calories after just 30 minutes of breaststroke – that beats walking, cycling and even running.
2. Swimming reduces stress levels and raises self-esteem
Anytime I need a mental release or it’s just been “one of those days”, I make sure to hit the pool and just drown out the cares of the day under the water! According to a survey of 4000 swimmers undertaken by Speedo, 74% agree that swimming releases stress and tension, 68% say that being in the water helps them to feel good about themselves, and 70% feel mentally refreshed after swimming.
3. Swimming boosts your mood
As with most exercise, you get that “high” after you’ve finished, and all of sudden you feel like there is nothing you can’t do! Another study shows that swimmers, no matter what level, are less prone to tension, depression, anger and confusion when they’ve been swimming. It means that novice and amateur swimmers can feel just as good as the pros, thanks to the release of feel-good hormone serotonin.
4. Swimming strengthens muscles
I’m a total weights-girl… so the concept of “weight lifting” in water totally speaks to me. The resistance of water can be 44 TIMES greater than air, meaning you have to work harder to move through it. It’s like working out with weights or machines without the need for expensive equipment, which makes swimming an affordable way to strengthen your muscles.
5. Swimming is low-impact exercise
I was drawn to swimming after my latest knee surgery, because it felt so good to be able to do something active that didn’t hurt. I could walk in the water when I couldn’t walk on land, I had no problem aqua jogging, and then, of course, swimming itself felt amazing! You’re only bearing about 10% of your weight when you swim due to the buoyancy of water. With greater ease of movement and less strain on bones, joints, and muscles, swimming has a lower risk of injury than many other forms of exercise.
6. Swimming improves your sleep
I’ve never had trouble catching some good Zzzz’s (I think it’s a gene in my family), but it has been shown that people who undertake vigorous exercise, such as swimming, are around twice as likely to report on having a good night’s sleep, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. “They’re least likely to report sleep problems, with most avoiding problems like insomnia and waking too early.”
7. Swimming is sweat-free
There’s nothing I love more than a good sweat, but there are many people that don’t actually care for the feeling of sweat. As a swimmer, you’ll never get overheated or feel sweaty because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.
8. Swimming lowers risk of disease
My favorite aspect of all! And perhaps the thing that makes swimming the most beneficial for everyone. Swimming is not only kind to your heart and a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s also been shown to control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. So by swimming regularly, you’re less likely to develop illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
BONUS: different swimming Stroke demonstrations
What are you waiting for?!? Go take a dip in the water today and start reaping all of the benefits!