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How Swimming Can Benefit Your Health

Research has shown that children are more likely to swim than adults and that older generations tended to swim more in general than younger generations. However, swim workouts seem to be some of the best workouts to include in your fitness routine. Swimming has been shown to improve strength and endurance and even help relieve stress.

If you aren’t already it’s time to hop in the pool and start working on your strokes. Let’s dive into why swimming is one of the top forms of exercise for overall health benefits as well as workouts you can do in the pool.

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Can Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease

A 2018 meta-analysis and review conducted on swimming found that the activity can offer strong beneficial effects on both the cardiorespiratory system and physical body composition across multiple different populations. This specific review found that swimmers saw improvements in exercise performance, ventilation, body mass, lean body mass, and body fat percentage.

In a different study done on patients with osteoarthritis, it was found that swimming was just as effective, if not more effective, at improving cardiovascular function and reducing inflammation as cycling. Overall swimming has just as many positive effects in terms of physiological outcomes as other forms of exercise in healthy adults and others with noncommunicable diseases.

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May Help With Weight Loss

It’s been found that swimming may even help reduce body fat. In terms of how much fat you will burn depends on the type of swimming, the duration of your swimming, and what you’re eating to help supplement your exercise regime.

A study was conducted on the effects swimming has in regards to body weight, fat distribution, glucose, lipids, and insulin in older women as compared to walking. After six months, the study found that those who swam decreased their waist and hip sizes more than those who walked. The swimmers also increased how far they could swim in 12 minutes. The women who walked did not see an increase in how far they could walk. And after a full year, the swimmers had decreased their cholesterol levels and overall body weight more than the walkers.

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Can Improve Brain Function

Swimming is known to increase overall blood flow to the brain which allows for more oxygen. When your brain receives more oxygen you experience better memory, more alertness, and overall improved brain functionality.

A study found that just being in a pool of warm water (that is at least up to your chest) may have a positive effect on the flow of blood to the brain. Participants of the study saw a 14% increase in blood flow to their cerebral arteries.

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May Provide A Mood Boost

Swimming may be able to help you fight off seasonal depression if you swim year-round. In a study done on swimmers who hit the pool regularly between the months of October to December, they reported feeling an improved sense of general well-being. They noted having less fatigue, memory loss, and tension.

Swimming also offers mental health benefits such as reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, decreasing overall stress levels, and improving the quality of sleep. Winter swimmers also found less aches and pains in regards to different pre-existing ailments such as asthma, fibromyalgia, and rheumatism.

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Helps Lower Blood Pressure

As with all exercise, swimming can help lower your overall resting blood pressure, which can help relieve symptoms of hypertension. A 10-week study conducted on both men and women who were sedentary and suffered from hypertension saw significant decreases in their resting heart rate from swimming.

Another year-long study found that patients with hypertension who swam regularly lowered their blood pressure and even improved their insulin sensitivity, which can help avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

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Can Decrease Lower Back Pain

A study done on patients suffering from lower back pain, who participated in aquatic exercises at least twice a week, found a significant decrease in the patient’s pain over time. After six months, 90% of the participants in the study saw improvements in their pain regardless of what their swimming ability was at the start of the study.

If you are suffering from aches and pains swimming can be a great exercise to partake in, as it is a non-weight-bearing form of exercise.

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Types Of Swim Workouts To Try

There are four major swimming strokes to learn in order to get the most out of your time in the pool. These different strokes will provide a full-body workout. They are:

Backstroke: As you are floating on your back you will alternate gliding your arms through the water to propel you forward. You will “flutter kick” your legs while your body rolls slightly to each side in tandem with your strokes.

Butterfly: While facing forward you will move your chest and symmetrically while kicking with “butterfly legs”. Keep your body close to the surface while your hands sweep in a Y shape (down and out) in front of you.

Breaststroke: Facing forward you will stretch your arms out to the side. Your head will bob in and out of the water while you propel forward so you can breathe while increasing your speed.

Front Crawl: While facing forward you will alternate your arm movements. Keep your body flat but rotate both the hips and shoulders. One shoulder will come out of the water in tandem with your arm while the other arm and shoulder start the propulsive phase in the water. This is the fastest of the four strokes.

Aim for about 20-40 minutes of swimming to get a good solid workout in. If you are new to swimming, start with small increments (15-20 minutes) and work your way up to a longer workout. You do not need to swim every day to reap the benefits so make sure you are allowing your body adequate rest between each session.