Here in Australia, we are all very familiar with swimming! Not only do we live in a country that is completely surrounded by water, our summers are just too bloody hot and the only escape we have is diving into a refreshing pool!
That being said, there is much more to swimming than simply cooling off in the 40 degree sun. Swimming has plenty of physical and mental benefits that make it not only fun, but one of the most beneficial forms of exercise and skills for people of all ages. So what exactly are the benefits of swimming?
• Low Impact Workout
– Swimming offers a heart pounding and fulfilling workout for people who struggle with joint pain, stiffness, or are overcoming injuries. There isn’t as much pressure put on your body and the skeletal system, as opposed to a sport like running, because your body is submerged in water making it much lighter and preventing your limbs aren’t banging against a hard surface continually. Therefore, it offers a lower impact sport that delivers the same quality of workout.
In fact, swimming is highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis or who are overweight!
• Heart Healthy
– Swimming also benefits the most vital muscle in all of the body, the heart! Swimming is an aerobic exercise that helps strengthen your heart by assisting it to become larger and stronger, making it more effective with pumping which in turn leads to better blood flow throughout the body.
• Muscle Definition & Flexibility
– Swimming also helps strengthen the entire body, as each part of the body is being used equally when swimming laps. Arms, legs, back, chest, are all in motion when performing the fundamental swimming techniques of free stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, etc. so you are getting an all over workout.
As well, the motion of swimming includes pulling your way through water, by using your legs, arms, ankles, etc. Therefore, while you are working out, you also are stretching your body, which in turn promotes flexibility.
• Burns Calories
– Swimming is renowned for being one of the best workouts for good reason, as not only does it promote all over body toning, flexibility, heart health, etc. it also BURNS calories like none other. In fact, swimming can be just as effective in fat burning than running on a treadmill! Depending on the intensity, 10 minutes swimming can burn equally or even MORE calories than running, as each swimming position delivers as a full bodied cardio workout.
• Good for mental health
– Swimming can help lowers stress, as it’s therapeutic nature of stretching your body while being submerged in cooled water and the deep breathing in between different positions helps promote its very own ‘swimmers high’.
• Prolong Life
– When it comes to living your absolute best, and longest life, swimming is your answer! Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men, aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise. Swimming isn’t just for the grown ups. Learning to swim largely benefits the little ones, and in some cases even MORE than the adults! Learning to swim is a vital skill for children to learn early in life.
• Emotional Health
– Similar to the adults, swimming helps alleviate stress, depression and anxiety, as the relaxing nature of being in the cooling water coupled with the breathing techniques helps relax kids while simultaneously burning off their excess energy.
– Perhaps, especially living in Australia, one of the BEST qualities of swimming for the young ones is the safety element. According to KidsHealth.org, drowning is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. Teaching your little one how to swim at a young age can help them learn the vital skills to fend for themselves in the water if an emergency were to occur. In this hot climate it is more common than not to have a swimming pool in the backyard! However, this can be dangerous for young children if they don’t know how to swim. Becoming a strong swimmer drastically reduces the risk of an emergency if your child were to accidentally fall in a pool or even get pulled into deep water by a rip tide at the beach. Swimming is a necessary life long tool that is best taught when your child is young, as it will carry with them their entire lives.
• Develops confidence
– For some children water can be a frightening experience. Many children tend to be fearful of water if they are not introduced to it at a young age. Helping your child learn to become a strong swimmer not only helps them overcome this common fear, but helps them conquer it. Conquering this fear will help empower them and boost their overall confidence and self esteem. Promoting a higher self esteem in young children is essential to self image and confidence as they mature into their teens and adulthood.
• Boosts social skills
– Lastly swimming, for the little ones can be an extremely social sport. Learning a vital skill such as swimming with other kids their age, like every other sport, leads to great social interaction and assists with the development of necessary social skills, such as being a part of a team, or learning to engage with kids from different backgrounds and life circumstances. These positive bond and friendships help shape their minds and view of the world.
Swimming is a perhaps one of the most valued and recommended sports in Australia for great reason. Not only does it offer plenty of physical benefits, but mental ones as well.