What are the Health Benefits of Swimming?
We can’t say enough about the myriad health benefits of swimming. First and foremost, swimming can save your life in multiple ways. Of course, the most obvious way that swimming is a lifesaver is in cases where there’s a risk of drowning. In Australia, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by oceans and have wonderful rivers and lakes, but swimming, paddling, and wading in the water can carry some risks.
Between 2021 and 2022, 339 people1 drowned off Australia’s coast and in rivers and lakes. The risk of drowning may be higher in some immigrant communities where swimming is not taught as part of the education system. This is why all Australians should learn how to swim proficiently in the water. Swim school can teach you effective techniques for swimming, and general water safety. Of course, wherever you choose to swim, you should take advantage of good local knowledge about spots to avoid and where to swim safely.
Swimming and Mental Health
Swimming can be incredibly beneficial for mental health. As with any physical exercise, swimming releases endorphins and relieves stress. Some people describe swimming as a kind of moving meditation and report greater clarity and calmness after swimming. There’s the social aspect too, with the community which grows around taking swim classes and of course, cooling off with friends and family at the beach.
There is growing research too, on the benefits of cold water therapy to reduce conditions such as anxiety and depression. Cold water therapy should be practised safely with a trained person, as a sudden and prolonged immersion into cold water for the inexperienced could result in health complications. When done under controlled conditions, participants report increased feelings of wellbeing and improvement in mental health.
Swimming and Physical Health
Everyone knows that we should take regular exercise for optimal physical health. The recommendation for Australians is for a weekly target of 2.5-5 hours of moderate exercise or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous exercise. Strengthening the muscles should take place twice a week as well as cardio activities such as walking and running.
Swimming is great for people getting back into exercise as the water supports the body reducing the impact on joints. It tones up the muscles and increases suppleness and flexibility. For those who regularly take exercise, swimming can form part of their weekly exercise plan to keep their routine interesting and use different muscle groups.
Taking regular exercise coupled with a balanced diet can help people maintain a healthy BMI or lose weight. It also reduces the risk of certain cancers and other diseases such as diabetes. It can help to prevent or even improve conditions such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Most importantly of all, being in good health makes you feel good. If you are asking yourself, “What are the benefits of swimming?” we’d love to help you find out. Check out the swimming classes we have on offer for children and adults at JUMP! Swim Schools. It’s never too early or late to make swimming part of your life.