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Health Benefits Of Swimming

We all know that swimming is a fun, a low impact sport on the body. Swimming has countless health benefits no matter what level you may be from a child in swim lessons to masters swimming, you can enjoy these benefits no matter what.

The first benefit applies to mainly younger children and teens in swim lessons, and that is the social circle that surrounds the sport. By swimming, especially if you decide to stick with it, is you meet countless friends, most of which will be friendships that will last years to a lifetime. Even in masters, you are almost certain to meet some great new friends no matter what.


Next, we move onto the physical benefits of the sport. Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water. Swimming is a good all-round activity because it:

  • Keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body

  • Builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness

  • Helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs

  • Tones muscles and builds strength

  • Provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all your muscles are used during swimming.

Other benefits of swimming:

  • It can be a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise.

  • Swimming takes away and reduces stress.

  • The sport helps with the improvement of coordination, balance and posture.

  • Swimming is great with improving flexibility.

  • The sport provides good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.

  • Swimming is great with providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day

  • Swimming is great with being available in many places – you can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams and rivers. Make sure that the environment you choose to swim in is safe and as always never swim alone.” -

SwimEngland did a scientific report and study back in 2017 entitled “Health Benefits of Swimming on Well Being." Here are some of the highlights:


“It is clear from the evidence that being able to swim, swimming regularly, and swimming as a part of daily community life can have considerable health and wellbeing benefits. For instance, research has identified that any amount of swimming participation compared to those who engaged in none, was associated with a 28% and 41% reduction in all cause and cardiovascular disease cause mortality respectively. The striking evidence of where swimming has afforded significantly improved health, quality of life and a sense of community are additional examples of best practice that need to be promoted across the nation. And it is evident that water-based exercise can confer several specific advantages, as compared to land-based exercise. For this reason, water-based exercise prescription should be a key consideration for all health care clinicians, providers and commissioners. It is also emphasized that having adequate opportunities to learn to swim and have positive experiences in early life, particularly among those from disadvantaged backgrounds, may be an important step to tackle drowning as one of the causes of avoidable and tragic death.”


The aquatic environment has been recognized as a place for active play and recreational exercise since the nineteenth century (Wiltse, 2013). Chase et al. (2008) compared the health aspects of swimming with alternative forms of aerobic exercise, and sedentary behavior.


Participants included 10,518 women and 35,185 men aged 20- 88 years old; the majority were Caucasian and of middle/upper socio-economic status. Screening included a formal subjective and objective history, anthropometric measurements, blood tests and a graded exercise test.


Participants were categorized as ‘sedentary’ (no participation in activity over the previous three months), ‘walkers’ (primarily engaged in run/walk/jog at a pace ≥15min/mile), ‘runners’ (primarily engaged in run/walk/jog at a pace ≤15min/ mile), and ‘swimmers’ (exclusively engaged in swimming activity). The results demonstrated that all types of physical activity produced demonstrable health benefits in comparison to a sedentary lifestyle. Of all the groups, swimming and running achieved the highest treadmill test duration/maximal metabolic equivalent (MET) levels, although the Body Mass Index (BMI) of swimmers was significantly higher than that of runners.


It is worthy of note however, that the ‘swimmers’ category only formed approximately 1% of the total participant population, and therefore this could affect the internal validity of the study. Equally, the limited demographics of the population could adversely affect external validity. The authors, however, conclude that swimming constitutes a valuable lifetime activity that appears to produce healthy levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and, as such, is a viable alternative to other forms of exercise. This is further supported by the results of a prospective study of the health effects of physical activity and fitness in men (n=40,547), that concluded that swimmers had lower mortality rates than those who were sedentary, walkers or runners even after controlling for age, body mass index, smoking/alcohol and family history (Chase et al., 2008b). Similar results have been demonstrated by Oja et al. (2015); in a cohort study of over 80,000 British adults, swimming participation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality of 28%, and cardiovascular disease mortality of 41%.


In conclusion, it is no secret that swimming has many countless health benefits. From social circles to helping your cardiovascular system, there are countless benefits. At Sigma Swimming, we offer swimming for all ages, from toddlers to masters. In closing, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise.


References:

  1. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/swimming-health-benefits

  2. https://cdn.swimswam.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/1._The_Health_and_Wellbeing_Benefits_of_Swimming_June_2017.pdf

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