While everyone who has ever owned, or even had the luxury of enjoying a clean, cool swimming pool on a hot summer day, there are plenty of reasons to invest in a pool of your own. What many people don’t consider, is the numerous ways a swimming pool can benefit your overall health and well being.
It’s often said that swimming is great exercise, right? So why, exactly, is this true? What makes swimming different than other types of exercise, like jogging, for instance?
Swimming is a great way to lose weight, improve strength and flexibility, and even decrease the risk of heart disease, all while being easy on your joints and bones.
This type of low impact exercise is very effective. It provides both aerobic and moderate resistance activity, which can burn 500 (easy swim) to 700 (vigorous swim) calories an hour, boosting metabolism, improving balance, aiding in better sleep, and providing a mood boost. Swimming is one of the few exercises that can can work your core, hips, arms, shoulders, and glutes all at the same time. Freestyle type swimming is very popular, as it can be a major calorie burner, while the backstroke can improve your posture by working back and shoulder muscles, and the breaststroke uses the hip and inner thigh muscles – a difficult to target area.
Due to the need to control your breathing, swimming also helps to increase lung capacity, and research suggests that improved lung capacity could help to ward off cardiovascular disease. Swimmers have been found to have lower blood pressure, and can have a “biological age” (how your body compares to the average body of various ages) that is up to 20 years younger than their actual age.
Swimming also provides some direct benefits to your brain health, as well. The movements made while your body is swimming activate both hemispheres and all four lobes of the brain simultaneously. This is shown to improve your ability to learn and cognitive function. Increased blood flow to the brain helps to improve memory, mood, clarity, and focus. Water is know to have a calming effect, and exercise encourages the release of endorphins – helping you to manage stress, anxiety, and even boost your mood.
The most notable difference between swimming versus other types of exercise is that it is an effective treatment for injuries or ailments of the joints or other conditions that cause chronic pain in the joints, muscles, or spine. While the water provides resistance it is low impact. The reduced strain due to the buoyancy we experience in the water also allows stiff joints to move more freely. These aspects combine to make swimming a great exercise for anyone, including senior citizens or those with arthritis.