The health benefits of swimming
Swimming: the ideal exercise that’s suitable for everyone, whatever their ability. Here we take a look at the health benefits and why some people have taken swimming one step further.
Accessible to most, swimming is the ultimate exercise that is so beneficial for our bodies without putting pressure on our joints and can help us feel good too.
So what exactly are the health benefits of swimming?
There are numerous ways that swimming can boost health. Here are just a few of them:
Swimming burns calories
Just 30 minutes of swimming can burn around 200 to 350 calories (depending on the stroke and how much effort you put in). Did you know a fast front crawl can burn as many calories as an 8.5mph run?
Swimming versus working out on land
Research suggests that 30 minutes swimming can be worth 45 to 60 minutes or working out on land. This is because water is 800 times denser than air so enabling you to work harder and burn more calories.
Swimming for all
Swimming is ideal exercise for people with disabilities, injuries or illnesses as 90% of your bodyweight is supported in water. So for those suffering from conditions such as arthritis, it is the perfect form of exercise.
Swim for just 30 minutes a week
Research suggests that swimming for 30 minutes at least once a week can help us live longer.
Swimming is good for our mental health
There are proven psychological benefits to swimming. People who swim regularly show significantly less anxiety, depression and anger compared to before. This may be due to the release of endorphins which are the body’s own ‘feel good’ hormones.
Swimming works out the heart and lungs
Swimming increases the rate at which the blood circulates around the body leading to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Swimming can improve liver and kidney function
As exercise strengthens the heart, this in turn enables oxygen to circulate around the body and all the vital organs more efficiently.
Swimming improves muscles and strength
Swimming will tone muscles and help to make you stronger.
Open water swimming
There’s a recent growing trend for outdoor swimming which people say, along with improving fitness, greatly improves their mental health. This claim, along with others, has been corroborated by Wildswimming.co.uk, who also state that over a 12-week period, repeated cold swimming can lead to substantial bodily changes, including a fall in blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced fat disposition, inhibition of blood clotting and an increase in fertility and libido in both men and women.
The other benefit of taking a dip outdoors is that it’s free! So if you’re tempted to join the band of hardy folk who regularly swim in ponds or lakes but don’t know how to start, then take a look at the open water section of swimming.org or the Outdoor Swimming Society and they should be able to help you get started.
I can’t swim but want to learn
It’s never too late to learn to swim and you can find details from Swimming.org. or just pop along to your local baths, where they should have an adult learn to swim class.
But even if you can’t swim you can still use hydrotherapy pools if you are suffering from joint pain. These pools are kept at a constant 34°C to help with muscle relaxation and so help to ease pain.
Build up slowly
If you haven’t swum for a while then aim to swim only a length at first and then build up slowly. In no time you’ll be swimming ten lengths each time you visit the pool and maybe even more!
Try entering a race
If you need motivation to help you train regularly then perhaps consider raising money by doing a sponsored swim, or even entering a race. It doesn’t matter where you come or even if you don’t manage to finish – it’s all good exercise!
Have you started swimming late in life or have you tried open water swimming? Please do comment below as we would love to hear from you.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own - about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example - you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have - whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, every day. Please get in touch now.
Click below to submit your question online.
AXA PPP healthcare
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!