It can be difficult to make exercise a regular part of our busy lives, especially as we get older and our bodies won’t let us do the high-intensity activities we used to. One of the best ways we can stay fit regardless of our body type or age is swimming. There are several reasons why swimming can be the perfect exercise for you to work into your day-to-day:
1. It’s low-impact. Swimming is naturally easy on the joints and therefore minimizes the risk of injury. It’s also great for people recovering from injuries.
2. It engages the whole body. When you swim, you utilize muscles in your arms, legs, core — nearly everywhere. By doing a full body workout, you’re not neglecting any part of your body that could use strengthening.
3. It’s anti-aging. That’s right — swimming can actually turn back your biological clock. According to research from Indiana University, regular swimmers are on average about 20 years younger physically than their actual age. It can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increase your cardiovascular health and cognitive functioning — just to name a few of its benefits.
4. It’s anti-stress. Though all exercise can reduce stress levels due to the endorphins it produces, being in the water just increases that power. The sensory deprivation of being underwater allows one to block out all the distractions and demands on your sensory attention, allowing you to relax more easily and focus.
5. It’s for everyone. Whether you’re 65, pregnant, a college student, recovering from an injury — anyone can swim. The buoyancy of the water and ability to set your own pace and adjust your intensity allows you to create a custom workout that suits your body.
6. It’s good for your lungs. Having to control your breath and adjust to the intermittent access to oxygen trains your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently and take in more oxygen when you breathe. This can also can help you lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
7. It’s fun! There’s a reason why kids love going to the pool in the summer. Something about gliding through the water as you propel yourself forward is just plain fun — especially if you are able to conduct a flip-turn at the end of the lane. Setting your own goals and working toward achieving them is also a fun part of exercising with an individual sport.
Check out your local gym, community center, or even the pool in your backyard to dive in to swimming and increase your spiritual, physical and mental health.