Health Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is the fourth most popular form of exercise in the United States, with more than 27 million people over the age of six participating.
But there are also many barriers to participating in swimming. For example, many people do not learn to swim until later in life, and some may feel discomfort or even fear of the water because it is an unfamiliar environment.
Despite these obstacles, swimming offers a variety of unique health benefits. Some people describe the feeling of soaking in water as transformative or healing, and many like the antigravity aspect of floating.
There are also many documented health benefits associated with swimming that may inspire you to develop your own pool or open water exercise program.
Health benefits of swimming
Participation in any physical activity, especially on a regular basis, can provide a wide range of health benefits. Regular exercise improves your heart health, can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and may even lower your risk of certain cancers.
Exercise can also help you have better thinking, learning, and judging skills as you age, lower your risk of depression, and may even promote better sleep.
And a single session of exercise can provide immediate benefits, including short-term reduction in anxiety.
The aquatic environment and the fact that swimming involves the whole body offer some unique advantages over other popular activities such as walking, jogging or cycling.
The researchers investigated the many ways that participating in different types of swimming can affect the body. However, it is important to note that, as with any physical activity, there are significant differences between levels of participation.
For example, lifelong competitive swimmers may experience different health benefits than swimming for fun just a few times a month. Here are some of the conclusions about the health benefits of swimming.
Less respiratory infections
If you enjoy swimming in cold weather, participating in this extreme sport can help you avoid upper respiratory infections and gain other health benefits.
Improved health perception
In 2015, a group of researchers investigated how different levels of participation in swimming can affect the health perception of middle-aged women. In their report, the study authors write that perception of health is important in how we manage our overall health because our behavior and choices are based on what we perceive about health in the first place.
High sense of achievement
"A lot of people come to the pool feeling that swimming is impossible for them," says Munson. She adds that people are often sure that they cannot learn to swim and see water as "other" or "scary." Part of this may be due to the fact that breathing water is different than breathing on land.
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