According to the CDC, swimming is an activity that has a multitude of health benefits for everyone. Young, old, pregnant, depressed—swimming isn’t a cure-all, but it has a lot to offer if it is done regularly.
Of course, swimming is well-known to be an excellent method of physical activity. According to the CDC, swimming is the fourth most popular aerobic exercise, and it is linked to a decreased risk of chronic illness. The CDC recommends 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week, and swimming can be the best option for many people.
Most people report that they find swimming more enjoyable than exercising on land. In addition, swimming is a great option for individuals who experience joint pain or other body aches that are exacerbated by physical activity on land. The lower impact of swimming allows most people to exercise longer with less fatigue, greatly improving their workout experience.
Swimming and other water-based activities are also the perfect option for older adults. They have been shown to reduce disability and promote bone health in post-menopausal women, according to the CDC.
Humans can’t breathe underwater, and yet they are undeniably drawn to it. Part of the reason might be that swimming and other water-based activities have been shown to improve mental health. Spending time outside, particularly on the water, lowers depression, anxiety, and stress. It also boosts ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin.
In fact, a study published by the National Library of Medicine in 2018 was conducted on a woman with major depressive disorder that did not respond well to typical medications. Desperate for a solution, she was prescribed… swimming. The study reports that she was able to wean off of her medication over the course of four months, at which point she was medication-free. A year later, she was still swimming 1-2 times a week and off of her medication with no significant relapse in symptoms of her depression and anxiety.
Regular swimming, especially outdoors, is a great way to unwind and improve your mental health.
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