Health Benefits of Swimming


Erin Daugherty 

The value of swimming to one’s health is too great to be measured, yet it’s often overlooked.

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to enjoy its benefits. People of all ages with any level of experience can add swimming to their regular exercise schedule.

Swimming provides the tools, skills and dedication to maintain a healthier lifestyle with minimum equipment. All you need is a swimsuit and a pair of goggles to get started.

Running or biking are the most common types of cardio exercise. Compared to jogging, swimming actually burns more calories. Swimming for one hour can burn up to 715 calories, while running for the same amount of time at about 5 mph only burns 606 calories.

The bene ts of swimming go deeper than just the amount of calories it can burn. Because swimming is a low-impact sport, it’s easier on the body, meaning it can be done well into the elderly years of one’s life.

Making swimming part of your exercise routine can actually slow down aging. It reduces blood pressure, increases muscle mass, improves oxygen and blood ow to the brain and increases cardiovascular health.

Swimming exercises every part of your body. It speci cally works your lats, deltoids and traps.

One of the most important benefits of swimming is that it helps develop otherwise overlooked muscles during a cardio workout. This includes the deep stabilizing muscles in your core and lower back from staying balanced while continuing to use your arms and legs to swim.

Swimming improves your coordination, posture and exibility. By strengthening your deep core muscles, the rest of one’s body becomes more engaged in everyday life, from standing during a presentation to lifting weights.

It is also a very toning cardio exercise. The resistance in water is greater than that on land, which makes your muscles work harder.

Unlike biking or jogging, being submerged in water dulls the amount of sen- sory information the body receives. This therapeutic coolness helps bring about the feeling of calmness experienced when you’re in the water.

Swimming, opposed to biking or running, is the best exercise for those with asthma. The moisture from the water replaces moisture expelled during vigorous breathing, while the dry air inhaled during running or biking can cause asthma complications.

Regular exercise, particularly swimming, reduces in ammation and insulin resistance in the brain, allowing new brain cells to grow. This increases the brain’s ability to think more ef ciently.

By improving brain ef ciency, memory functions and thinking skills follow suit. This is especially important at school and work. Swimming is a very good way to relieve anxiety and stress. In turn, it improves your overall mood.

“As soon as you dive in and just start swimming, my mind relaxes and allows me to feel my body and focus on myself and my mind,” sophomore Kyra Fraser said. “Swimming is almost always the cure to my stress.”

The skills learned in the pool follow you out of the pool as well. Swimming is a confidence teaching and goal setting sport.

Evidence from a study from Griffith University in Australia showed that beginning to swim at a young age increases confidence compared to non-swimming peers.

This study compared the development of kids aged up to five against milestones of child development.

The children in this study were found to be from six to fifteen months ahead of their peers when it came to cognitive skills, problem solving in all areas of school and following instructions. It proves that swimming can truly affect life by improving health socially, cognitively and emotionally.

A goal for swimming can be as simple as kicking with a kickboard across the pool, improving a time for a certain number of laps, or recovering from an injury using water rehabilitation. There is constantly room for improvement with swimming.

“Over the years swimming has made me realize that just because you have a goal doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily gonna reach it but that instead gives you something to work towards,” Fraser said.

Swimming is a sport where you may fail, but there is always room to take a new approach, try again and succeed.


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