1. Swimming improves muscle definition and strength
Swimming targets multiple muscle groups – in one session you work muscles in your legs, arms, and core. And, unlike other sports, it’s low-impact, making it a low-risk high-reward activity. In low-impact sports such as swimming, your joints can relax which helps you become less susceptible to injury. Unless combining swimming with weight-room workouts, you won’t build huge muscles by swimming alone. However, you will definitely see some muscle gains by practicing the sport regularly. Here are some strokes you can do and the muscles they target.
2. Swimming improves your lungs
Lungs can expand to a much larger size than we think. This directly affects our muscles – the larger the lung capacity, the more oxygen our muscles receive. Swimming is an underwater aerobic exercise which activates large muscle groups and elevates heart rates causing our lungs to work more efficiently. Because you must hold your breath to swim, your lungs are working at their maximum effort. In turn, they will grow in size. This is important not just for sports but for overall health as well. Recent studies even suggest that swimming is beneficial for asthmatics too.
3. Swimming lowers stress and depression
Swimming is relaxing! It’s a great way to reduce stress because you have to put your phones down and completely disconnect. It’s just you and the water. According to a You Gov poll commissioned by Swim England in 2018, 1.4 million Brits suffer fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety by simply swimming once every 2-3 weeks. Around 400,000 British swimmers diagnosed with depression or anxiety were able to reduce visits to the doctor or medication doses, as well. This is because cold water stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is able to trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin, or our “happiness” and “motivation” molecules.
4. Sea water swimming boosts the immune system
In addition to lowering stress and depression, scientists have proven that swimming in the sea also boosts the immune system. White blood cell counts increase after being in cold sea water because the immune system is triggered and this promotes strength. You can easily test this out for yourself by jumping into to some sea water and seeing how your energy changes. No beach? No problem – get up early and take a cold shower instead!