8 Benefits of Swimming for Your Physical & Mental Healthon
8 Benefits of Swimming for Your Physical & Mental Health
Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Whether you dive into an indoor pool during the winter or head to the beach to make the most of long summer days, this total body workout feels more like a party than exercise.
But don’t let those good vibes fool you.
Loads of scientific studies actually support the health benefits of swimming. And once you learn how swimming can improve your physical and mental health, we think you’ll be even more excited to take the plunge.
So let’s explore why you should swim for your health today.
6 Benefits of Swimming for Your Physical Health
If you’re looking for fun workouts to try, you’re in luck! The benefits of swimming for physical health include:
1. Better Cardiovascular Health
Swimming is an effective aerobic exercise that gets your blood and oxygen pumping. That’s why researchers say swimming can improve your cardiovascular health.
One study compared blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other heart-health measures across 46,000 male and female walkers, runners, swimmers, and sedentary adults. Swimmers and runners scored the healthiest numbers [*].
So if running isn’t your thing, swimming for cardiovascular health definitely should be.
2. Less Joint Pain and Stiffness
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is easy on your joints.
The water supports and cushions your body, so people with arthritis, injuries, and other chronic conditions can work out as vigorously as they like without worrying about getting hurt.
Plus, scientists say swimming increases flexibility and reduces joint pain and stiffness for those suffering from osteoarthritis [*][*]. It’s also an excellent option for those with knee pain and fibromyalgia [*[*].
🙌 Check out this guide to learn how to increase your flexibility next!
3. Lower Blood Sugar Levels for Type 2 Diabetics
Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity for people with type 2 diabetes. This empowers them to manage their symptoms better, decrease the risk of diabetic complications, and even reverse their condition [*][*].
4. Weight Loss
Swimming is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. You can burn 180-250 calories with a general 30-minute swim and 300-420 calories with 30 minutes of vigorous laps [*].
- Lose weight
- Lower body fat percentage
- Increase lean, fat-free mass
- Reduce waist and hip circumferences
- Improve body mass index (BMI)
One study even revealed that swimming as an extra activity during the school year improved fitness levels and lowered the risks of children and adolescents becoming overweight [*].
5. Muscle Strength and Tone
Swimming might not come to mind when you think about the best workouts for muscle growth. But researchers say swimming can help you build muscle and strength simultaneously.
This exercise engages several major muscle groups while the water forces resistance against your every move. Depending on your strokes, you may see gains in your abs, back, forearms, shoulders, hamstrings, and glutes.
Even though swimming for muscle tone can help you achieve a leaner physique, you’ll probably still need to add some strength training days if your goal is bulking up or getting ripped.
6. Better Sleep
Physical activity is one of the first recommendations if you’re having trouble sleeping. In fact, scientists reviewing nearly 70 studies learned that both acute and regular exercise positively impacts [*]:
- Total sleep time
- Time it takes to fall asleep
- Slow wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep stages
- Sleep quality
While fewer studies exist on swimming for sleep improvement, one showed that participants increased their sleep time and improved their sleep efficiency [*].
😴 Related: What To Do When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
The Many Benefits of Swimming for Mental Health
If you want to get more out of your workouts, consider those that support your mental and emotional health too. Swimming lets you dive in, tune out, and float your way to:
1. Less Stress and Anxiety
Exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, directly impacting your mood.
Combined with the meditative effects of floating in a cool body of water and your rhythmic strokes, it’s easy to see why swimming can help you reduce stress and anxiety.
Researchers studying swimming for anxiety relief noticed participants felt more at ease after their aquatic experiences [*]. And when it comes to swimming for stress relief, one survey showed that [*]:
- 74% of people find swimming helps release stress and tension
- 70% believe it helps them feel mentally refreshed
- 68% find being in the water helps them feel good about themself
So if you choose this route, remember to engage your senses, focus on your breathing, and try to practice mindfulness.
2. Depression Relief
- Fatigue, anger, tension, and depression
- Positive moods
- Sense of well-being
In one study, a consistent open-water swimming routine even helped people with major depressive disorder reduce or discontinue their antidepressant medication [*].
🏊 Swimming Benefits to Make a Splash About
Swimming is a great way to stay fit and healthy. It’s also one of the best summer activities. So take this nudge from the universe to don your swimsuit and jump in!
Just remember not to swim alone (for safety reasons) and grab one of your friends or family members to tag along. You’ll both enjoy soaking up the benefits of swimming for your overall health and well-being.
Psst! Don’t forget to stash a few yummy protein bars in your bag for those post-swim munchies!
Author: Devan Ciccarelli