As the weather heats up, the urge to plunge head-first into a cold, refreshing pool grows stronger and stronger. Well, good news for all water lovers, it turns out that gliding and splashing around a pool – as well as being devilishly fun – has many health benefits. Whether it be breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle or backstroke, swimming is a versatile, affordable and healthy activity for your whole family to enjoy. So, grab your sunscreen and hats, oh and kids of course, and take a plunge into some revitalising waters this summer.
Whereas many sports train only a particular muscle or body part, swimming is a holistic activity that works your whole body; particularly the heart, joints and mind.
In terms of cardiovascular health, swimming is one of the most effective activities as it strengthens both your heart and lungs. It does this by keeping your heart rate up and training your body to use oxygen more efficiently; this is usually reflected in a decline in your resting heart and breathing rate. When it comes to the lungs, swimming is highly beneficial to anyone grappling with asthma; this is because it expands your lung capacity through the involved breathing exercises, such as holding and controlling your breath.
For anyone suffering with joint pain, arthritis or recovering from an injury, there is no greater exercise than swimming. By gliding through an environment in which 90% of your body weight is supported by water, you are able to exercise your body with little resistance or impact stress. The relaxing and gentle motions of the water not only releases stiffness, they also avoid activating pain in your joints that other forms of exercise tend to exacerbate.
Finally, swimming is one of the best activities for managing stress and fostering relaxation. The low-impact, relaxing nature of swimming stimulates the brain to release neurochemicals, such as dopamine. This, in turn, reduces stress by making your body and mind feel good. What’s more, as you swim, the water moving over your body creates a massaging sensation; this makes for a highly relaxing exercise experience that lingers as you exit the water.
More than any other physical activity, swimming provides a versatile, holistic, affordable and completely family-friendly and fun way to stay healthy this summer. So, take that plunge into water and reap the benefits for your heart, joints, mind and more.
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