June 24 is National “Swim a Lap Day” and we’re making a splash about it. We love any excuse to get out and get active in the name of finding our healthiest, happiest self, and swimming is a great way to do just that. Today we’re breaking down the top six health benefits of swimming. Get those swim caps on and let’s dive in.
1. Dual Strength & Cardio Training
We love water workouts for so many reasons (who doesn’t love a pool day, after all?), but perhaps our favorite swimming health benefit is that it’s a two-bird-one-stone kind-of workout. You constantly have to move to stay afloat, so swimming counts as a great cardio workout. Plus, the resistance water offers provides ample strength training.
2. Fountain of Youth
According to a recent study conducted by Indiana University’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, swimming may be our best bet for turning back the clock. The director of the program, Dr. Joel Stager, studied 200 swimmers, measuring typical age markers like blood pressure, cholesterol, muscle mass and strength. The results were pretty astounding. The 50-year-old swimmers studied had the physiological functions of people 20-years younger.
3. Gain Muscle
According to Dr. Stager, as we age, we become less active, and/or recover from disease or serious health conditions, we often lose muscle mass and gain fat. This can be a vicious cycle—the less muscle we have, the less able we are to perform tasks or workout, which leads to more loss of muscle. Pregnant women, those recovering from surgery, anyone with aging knees, etc. can all take to the water to gain muscle, as it’s low-impact and you control your intensity level.
4. Joint and Back Pain Relief
Because water workouts are so low impact, they’re great for helping to relieve joint and back pain. Those who suffer from arthritis or chronic joint and back pain are often unable to run on hard surfaces, but they can easily take to the water for a pain-free workout. According to Berkeley Wellness, exercising in warm water can help to relieve joint stiffness and pain, as well as increase flexibility.
5. Heart Healthy
According to Berkeley Wellness, as long as you swim at a brisk pace, swimming can improve cardiovascular wellness and cholesterol levels. It also improves your overall heart and lung capacity. According to Harvard Health, swimming trains the body to use oxygen more efficiently, which results in a decline in your resting heart rate.
6. Melt Away Stress
Swimming is one of the most calming exercises out there. Regular rhythmic motion combined with the water’s soothing effect is a potent potion for relieving stress. According to a survey conducted by swimwear brand Speedo, 74 percent of swimmers surveyed said that swimming helped them reduce stress and tension, and 70 percent of those surveyed said that it helped them to feel “mentally refreshed”.
Overall, swimming is an accessible, healthy activity for nearly anyone, regardless of age, activity level, weight or health condition. Swimming is especially ideal for those looking to gain back strength and improve overall health while recovering from cancer treatment.
Ready to learn even more about your health? Like us on Facebook for helpful info, updates and health tips. Currently battling cancer? Contact our office to speak with our team about treatment options offered at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center.