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Swimming Health Benefits

Update Date: Mar 06, 2017 07:10 AM EST
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Swimming is a great physical activity that engages most of the swimmer's upper body. This means major muscle groups working together, whether for leisure or workout, swimming is definitely packed with physical benefits.

Time reported a number of advantages of swimming over other sports and how people can benefit from this activity:

  • Swimming eliminates the constraints of gravity. This makes it an excellent sport for people who are suffering from osteoarthritis and those who are obese.

  • Water puts on more external pressure on the body compared to out-of-water activities. This pressure is evenly applied relieving common burdened areas like the knees, hips and back.

  • Deep breathing, or inhaling quickly and deeply and letting the air out slowly, helps strengthen respiratory muscles. It also decreases stiffness in arteries which lessens the risk for cardiovascular problems.

  • Swimming is a total body workout that engages major muscle groups including the core. It is also beneficial for back since there is no major impact.

  • Just like other exercises, swimming is associated with feeling better. Studies also show that people who take up swimming are most likely to stick to the sport compared to others.

Some might say that swimming is good especially during warmer months but according to The Telegraph cold and outdoor swimming is a growing trend in the United Kingdom. From 300 members in 2006, UK's Outdoor Swimming Society membership has grown into over 25,000 in 2016.

Historically thought to help management of mental conditions, there have been a few proven benefits of cold water swimming which includes:

  • Better resistance to colds based on the research conducted by the Extreme Environments team at Portsmouth University.

  • A Finnish study also showed that cold water helped in pain management of people with asthma, rheumatism and Fibromyalgia.

  • Outdoor Swimming Society's in house expert, Dr. Mark Harper said cold swimming is related to improving metabolism, particularly the way the body processes sugar.

  • Dr. Harper also said cold water swimming improves the way we handle stress by training our fight-or-flight responses.

  • There's no concrete evidence of cold water evidence to mental health at the moment but it helps swimmers connect with nature which helps ease anxiety.

  • Being outdoors during the winter also means swimmers get some sunlight to boost Vitamin D, serotonin and endorphins.

  • In general, it improves overall well-being as swimmers get more energetic, brisk and active according to the Finnish research.

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