How beneficial do you think swimming is for humans? If you’re thinking swimming is merely a fun thing to do with family or friends on the weekend, you’re actually wrong. For years, swimming has been called the perfect exercise. Why? It doesn’t just target the body, but it also works wonders on the mind.
The advantages that come with going for taking a dip in the water of your favourite beach or pool are incredible. If you’d like to find an enjoyable way to lose a couple of pounds, spend some time by yourself to unwind or to simply get connected to nature, swimming might be the best option for you. And with the hot season currently in full blast, the timing has never been more right.
Read on to find out more about the abundant and amazing benefits of swimming. With this article, we might manage to convince you to stop what you’re doing and make plans to go to the nearest beach club or shore. However, if you’re interested in going for a swim but find it difficult to learn how to do so, we’ve got you covered too. Before we delve into the reasons why you should definitely go swimming, we’re providing you with some tips and tricks that you can follow, should you find it a struggle to swim.
First of all, it’s important to understand that it’s never too late to learn how to swim. It’s also important to learn it as a survival skill – it could save your life, someday. When you know how to swim, you can easily enjoy water sports and activities that are extremely fun. So, where do you start?
Most people recommend taking a few swimming instruction lessons. This will put you in a better position to learn all that you can about swimming, whilst staying safe. Ideally, if you’re still learning how to swim, you should always practice with someone by your side.
If you’re slightly intimidated by the water, here are some simple things you can do. Stand up in a pool, inhale deeply, place your face in the water and exhale for five seconds. Repeat this in the starfish position, floating with your arms and legs spread out. You could also try standing with your back to the wall and extending your arms above your head and holding on. In this position, thrust upwards and flutter your legs outwards to get used to floating and pushing.
Once you get the hang of it, you could proceed with the easiest (and most commonly taught) swimming strokes, preferably in a public pool or shallow waters. The breaststroke is an ideal beginner move, involving an easy ‘pull, breathe, kick, glide’ motion while pushing forward. When swimming in this position, keep your legs behind you instead of below you in order to maintain a horizontal body position. That way, you’ll minimise resistance and glide forward faster.
Learning how to swim takes quite some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be thanking yourself for learning how to do it! Now that you’re aware of what it takes to start learning how to swim, what exactly are the benefits of swimming after all?
You Will Stay Toned
It’s not unknown that professional swimmers gain a lot of muscle throughout their body. Where runners see more muscle build in their legs, swimmers see muscle build all over their body since they utilise more muscle groups when in the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull and the neck turns. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilise the core. This movement makes swimming one of the best aerobic exercises that target your entire body.
You Will Improve In Flexibility
When you’re swimming, you’ll be twisting, reaching, stretching and pulling yourself through the water. Indeed, the repetitive motions of stretches that happen whilst swimming will improve your flexibility that is useful in all physical activity.
It Reduces Inflammation
Swimming is said to increase your heart rate without stressing your body. It is widely known that swimming has cardiovascular benefits, in that it strengthens the heart muscle. Research also indicated that aerobic activities like swimming reduce inflammation that causes atherosclerosis build-up in the heart. Reducing system-wide inflammation leads to lessened disease progression in many other areas as well, so expect to hear of more benefits as the research progresses.
It Builds Strength and Endurance
In general, swimming is considered an excellent aerobic exercise due to the fact that you’ll be consistently and regularly breathing, making your body intake the oxygen needed to sustain the physical activity for extended periods of time. Starting slow and steady and practising swimming in the water regularly will not only build and improve your endurance – it will also improve your strength, especially with all the muscle-building you’ll be doing.
It Reduces Injury and Disease Pain
People with arthritis, injuries, disabilities or other bodily issues that may make high-impact exercise difficult to bare can definitely benefit from spending some time in the water. Swimming can definitely help in reducing pain and improving recovery from injury. People with multiple sclerosis may also find swimming beneficial. Water makes the limbs buoyant, providing support to them during exercise. Water also acts as a gentle resistance.
This is because, since swimming helps with strengthening the muscles and ligaments, improving cardiovascular fitness and building strength, areas of injury will be automatically supported. What’s more, it is believed that people with arthritis will experience fewer physical limitations and stiffness after engaging in swimming and even cycling. This low-impact exercise makes for a fantastic rehabilitation medium.
It Improves Asthma
Indeed, people who specifically have asthma will benefit from taking a dip in the water as well. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to work out and being in a struggle to breathe. However, exercising at the gyms or at an outdoor place often means having to deal with congested air from pollution or pollen – something that is every asthmatic person’s worst nightmare.
Working out in the sea, especially, means allowing yourself to breathe in moist air while you train while having your sinuses cleared out there and then. Not only does swimming help alleviate asthma symptoms, but it can also significantly improve the overall condition of your lungs.
You’ll Get a Free, All-Natural Skin Treatment
Who would turn down a free beauty treatment for the skin? Regularly swimming in salted water helps the skin retain moisture and detoxify to promote new cell growth. You’ll be surprised how smooth and refreshed your skin will feel after a dip in the sea. It will be like working out and giving yourself a beauty treatment all at the same time.
Seawater also contains magnesium, calcium and potassium which all happen to be skin-friendly materials that liven your skin. These minerals are great for acne-causing bacteria and skin infections. Your skin will thank you after going swimming!
You’ll Burn Off Calories
Yes, swimming also helps you shed calories apart from toning muscles and making you more strong. Everyone knows that going for a swim can help you lose weight, but not many know that swimming can be as effective as jumping on the treadmill. Indeed, swimming can burn off as many calories as jogging does. This all depends on your intensity, your duration as well as your body type, of course.
It is estimated that around 10 minutes of swimming equates to burning 60 calories when doing the breaststroke, 80 calories with the backstroke, 100 calories with freestyle and a whopping 150 with the butterfly stroke. To get a better idea of what this all means, a 10-minute run burns around 100 calories. Therefore, a strong 30-minutes butterfly stroke round can help you torch off 150 more calories than running a 5k in the same time frame. Impressed yet?
It Improves Your Sleep
Swimming can even make you sleep better at night. A study tested this on a group of older adults with sleeping issues and found that participants underwent a boost in the quality of sleep and even routine after engaging in regular aerobic exercise. Many people facing stress, old age and mental problems face some level of insomnia, so this just shows how beneficial swimming really is for our health. Moreover, swimming seems like the right solution if other physical exercises like running, cycling and more are too difficult, especially for older people.
It Lowers Stress and Depression
We’ve all heard of the natural mental benefits of working out. Many people talk about the runner’s high, where after a nice long session of running, a feeling of euphoria coupled reduced anxiety and depression arises. Alas, swimming as an aerobic exercise can bring about this feeling in us too.
Relish in the natural kick of endorphins provided to you after spending some swimming time. Apart from this rush of happy hormones, swimming also helps you feel a large relaxation response that’s even similar to yoga. With the fact that swimming constantly stretches and strengthens your body in mind, it is not difficult to see why combining deep rhythmic breathing can trigger a pleasurable relaxation rush you’ll later thank yourself for having.
In addition, stress and depression are also lowered with breathing when swimming. The physical and mental benefits of mindful breathing are innumerable. Swimming requires you to be more mindful and in control of your breathing – above and below the water. As it turns out, the sound of your inhaling and exhaling is said to be calming and meditative. It will also help you tune out any other distractions.
If you feel like your thoughts and emotions are taking the best out of you, submerging yourself in the water can be an excellent way of coping.
It’s Medicine For the Brain
Swimming can make you smarter too. Of course, all exercise is great for the mind, but research proves that swimming significantly improves cerebral abilities.
Researchers from Australia focused on kids who take swimming lessons in comparison to non-swimmers, and their results are very telling. It became discovered that kids who regularly participated in swimming were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence and physical development sooner than the non-swimmers.
Children who swim are also said to do well in mathematics in the classroom. Kids are exposed to numbers at an early stage when they take swimming lessons, given that coaches constantly use numbers in their conversations with students. For example, coaches will generally count “1-2-3-GO!” at the start of an activity. Children will also have to count the number of seconds spent underwater and will be trained to calculate time in relation to the aerobic activity they’re doing.
It’s Good for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women and their babies can also reap some wonderful results from taking a swim. One study concluded that there is no data that indicates that swimming in pool water is associated with adverse reproductive outcomes. In fact, pregnant women who swam during their early to mid-pregnancy had a lower risk of preterm labour and congenital defects.
It is important to keep in mind that while swimming is generally considered safe during pregnancy, some women may have activity restrictions due to complications in pregnancy.
With the mention of the vast array of benefits going for a swim brings out for people, resisting it may be hard. If you’re intrigued by the idea of coming to Malta for a much-needed holiday, you might find staying with 1926 Hotel & Spa an added asset. Our Beach Club is the perfect backdrop for your perfect Mediterranean getaway.
When you’re done swimming in our infinity pool, you can treat yourself to cocktails, al fresco dining and live music to boost your accommodating experience.