You’ve probably heard that swimming is one of the best physical exercises you can do. It engages just about every muscle group in your body, and since it’s a low-impact exercise, it won’t put as much strain on your joints as exercises like running would. However, research suggests that swimming every day could benefit your mental health as well as your physical health by lowering your stress levels. Here’s how that could work.
Swimming Releases Endorphins in Your Brain
Like all physical exercises, swimming releases endorphins in your brain. These are hormones that increase positivity, bring about a sense of well-being, and otherwise make you feel good. Naturally, these endorphins can also help you feel less stressed.
Swimming Can Help Boost Brain Health
All physical exercise can boost brain health by improving circulation, but swimming might have an even greater benefit on your brain than other workouts. Simply being in the water will improve blood flow to the brain. When you combine that with the physical exertion of swimming, you have an exercise that is as good for your brain as it is for your muscles.
Swimming Outdoors May Improve Depression
While relaxing in a swimming pool has plenty of benefits, “wild swimming,” or swimming outdoors in a natural body of water, could be even more helpful. Being out in nature has a calming effect on most people, and swimming in the colder water found in most lakes or the ocean seems to be an effective treatment for depression. Doctors aren’t entirely sure why, but it’s believed that the shock of being in cold water helps the body combat stress linked to anxiety and depression. This doesn’t mean that you should jump in a freezing cold lake, but you shouldn’t be afraid to go to the beach for a swim on a nice day.
The Calming Effect of Water
By now, it’s clear that swimming can certainly lower your stress levels, but simply being near water could in itself be calming. The color blue is associated with most swimming pools and the ocean is indeed soothing, and some research has even shown that people who live near the coast have higher levels of good health and well-being. Additional research is needed on this, and everyone is different in how they respond to anything related to stress and stress relief.
Swimming in a Public Pool Encourages Socializing
While you can certainly swim laps in a pool on your own, there are public pools that give you a chance to socialize with others. Whether it’s during a group water aerobic class, swim challenges at a local gym or leisure center, or simply an open swim, you will have more chances to socialize with others during or after your aquatic workout if you wish.
Swimming is a great activity that practically anyone can do. Even if you’re not a great swimmer, you can engage in aerobic exercise or even relax in a pool and get plenty of physical and mental health benefits from it. Keep it in mind the next time you’re looking for a healthy way to relieve your stress.