health benefits of swimming - wapomu

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Swimming As An Exercise

You may be aware of the importance of exercising regularly and its positive impact on your health. The general recommendation has been to engage in moderate exercises or activities for at least 150 minutes in a week or about 75 minutes a week if it involves vigorous activities. 

Swimming is one such activity that can help you easily achieve this recommended exercise schedule. It has a lot of health and physical benefits but has relatively less or no negative impact on your bones and joints. 

Here are 10 benefits of swimming that should inspire you to engage in it as a form of exercise.

1. Helps with weight loss

One of the commonest ways to lose weight is the burning of calories in the body. This is why most weight loss programs include vigorous exercises or activities. Swimming is an activity that is known to contribute to the burning of calories in the body.

The amount of calories burnt from swimming can be very substantial and contributes to burning higher calories relative to what regular walking and yoga can produce. However, the amount of calories burnt during a swimming activity is dependent on how vigorous the swimming is and for how long you do it.

Check this post out to know whether your current weight is normal or not.

2. Helps with asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects your lungs and may impair your breathing. Most people living with asthma get episodes of serious asthmatic attacks following vigorous activities or exercise.

Swimming has been found to increase lung capacity which is decreased in asthmatics. It is also known to improve the individual’s control over breathing.

Swimming, unlike most other forms of exercise, is usually an indoor game which provides a humid environment that is good for people with asthma. A decrease in humidity is known to trigger asthmatic attacks.

However, there have been legitimate concerns of the potential of various chemicals used in cleaning the swimming pools causing or inducing asthma attacks. As such, individuals who have asthma and would want to swim must talk to their doctors. 

It is also preferable for them to swim in pools that use salt water instead of chlorine for their disinfection of the pool.

3. Helps with sleep

The common problems people face with sleep are related to the quality and duration of sleep. Swimming is a refreshing activity that has a positive impact on sleep. That is to say, it improves the quality of your sleep and helps you sleep for long.

According to a study published on pubmed central, individuals suffering from insomnia (inability to sleep) reported an increase in the quality of sleep after engaging in regular aerobic exercises including swimming.

4. Helps you build cardiovascular strength

Have you heard about cardio exercise? Any form of exercise that will improve your cardiovascular strength is considered a cardio exercise. These kinds of physical activity is known to affect your lungs, heart and cardiovascular system in all.

Research has confirmed these two important benefits of swimming:

i) Swimming can help lower your blood sugar level as well as your blood pressure [reference].

ii) Swimmers usually have about half the mortality rate of inactive people [reference]. This infers that swimmers live longer than an average non-swimmer.

If you want to improve blood flow in your body, swimming is an exercise that you want to engage in.

Water photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

5. Helps with multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a medical condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the brain and nerves hence affecting transmission of signals to the other parts of the body. It is mostly associated with fatigue and difficulty walking.

Swimming has been found to be very beneficial to people with multiple sclerosis. During swimming, the water supports the limbs and makes them buoyant enabling you to move them.

Swimmers who have multiple sclerosis usually find reduction in pain associated with their condition. This was confirmed by a study published on pubmed central. In addition to having a reduction in pain, it was found that there are improvements in other symptoms like fatigue, disability and depression.

6. Helps boost mood

Swimming involves the use of almost all the major muscles in the body and hence can be considered an active form of exercise. During such types of exercises, the body releases certain hormones called endorphins.

These hormones (endorphins) are known to relieve stress and pain and may help light up one’s mood.

A group of people with dementia (loss of memory and other thinking abilities) were involved in a pilot study and were observed for about 12 weeks. After the 12 weeks, the group that were actively engaged in swimming activities were found to have shown improvement in their mood.

7. Helps with managing stress

Exercise in general is known to help relieve stress. As mentioned above, the release of endorphins associated with exercise is known to relieve stress and pain.

Another way exercises like swimming can help relieve stress is by taking your mind off the things that may be boggling you. After a swimming activity, you are likely to feel more relaxed.

8. Safe and recommended for pregnant women

Even though there are recommendations that pregnant women are to exercise and stay active during the pregnancy, it becomes challenging choosing the right form of exercise. This is because some vigorous exercise routines can be detrimental to the pregnant woman’s life or that of the baby she is carrying.

Swimming has been found to be safe in pregnancy and is one of the few recommended exercises for a pregnant woman. Also, it is known to be safe in all trimesters of the pregnancy.

There is even a potential benefit to the foetus according to this study even though there is recommendation for further studies to ascertain the actual benefits.

9. Recommended for arthritis, injuries, and other medical conditions

It is usually difficult for people with arthritis, injuries and other kinds of medical conditions to engage in any form of physical activity. Unfortunately, the non-pharmacological management of such conditions usually requires regular physical activity.

So the question becomes what kind of exercise should such people engage in and how safe is that kind of activity to them?

Swimming has been found to be safe for such people. Even people with disabilities may benefit from swimming. Also, the act of swimming can help relieve them of pain and may even facilitate their recovery.

Water photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

10. Provides an all over body workout

As was constantly mentioned throughout this article, swimming engages most of the muscles of the body and provides an all-over-the-body workout.

During swimming, you make use of your hands, legs, abdomen etc. In fact almost all muscle groups in the body will be engaged. As such, the benefits obtained are enormous and not centered on just a few muscles.

As discussed thoroughly in this article, swimming has a lot of health benefits and almost anyone can benefit from it. If you are worried about which exercise regimen to engage in for a healthy life, consider swimming.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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