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What are the Mental Health Benefits of Swimming?

Swimming is an effective and versatile exercise with tremendous physical benefits. However, there are also surprising mental health benefits of swimming. Getting into the water can be a great way to improve our mood and general sense of wellbeing, and has been proven to be an effective stress relieving activity.

Swimming is a great way to get physical exercise regardless of fitness level. As a result of physical activity and exercise, endorphins are released and we feel dramatic improvements in our mood. Additionally, as we build muscle and become more physically fit, our self-confidence will improve. According to Enjoy Swimming, “Because swimming gives you a well-toned body, it increases your well-being and self-confidence. The contact with the water also improves your mood when you feel tired or depressed.” The physical benefits of swimming can even help slow down aging. According to Swimming World Magazine, “There is no secret pill to living longer, but the pool is like the fountain of youth. Regular swimming can delay the effects of aging by reducing blood pressure, increasing muscle mass, improving oxygen and blood flow to the brain, and increasing cardiovascular health. Swimming can also improve physical strength and balance in seniors. Seniors who suffer from joint pains can hit the pool to increase flexibility and to reduce joint inflammation. Lastly, this low-impact sport is easier on the body.”

Swimming is a fun way to get exercise. Lynn Hetzler, in a 2017 Livestrong article entitled Mental and Physical Benefits of Swimming, explains, “Recreational swimming leaves you with a positive feeling after exercise. Fun decreases stress. Swimming elicits a natural, positive response to being in the water. Swimming with others in a public pool fosters community spirit and offers an opportunity to meet new friends. Spending leisure time at the pool or the beach with friends and family increases shared memories and, subsequently, better mental health through social interaction and intimacy” The exercise also provides benefits to our cognitive functioning. According to Swimming World Magazine, “Regular exercise, such as swimming, improves memory function and thinking skills. This is good not only for the classroom and work, but it is beneficial for us as we age too. Regular exercise reduces inflammation and insulin resistance in the brain, which fosters new brain cell growth. Swimming also improves mood, anxiety, and stress, which increases the brain’s ability to think more efficiently.” Swimming can positively affect nearly every aspect of our mental health. It improves our self-confidence, reduces stress and anxiety, and provides a greater sense of life satisfaction.

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