Photo Credit: Swimming.org
For the nation, this year has been among the hottest on record. As the temperature rises, many Americans would like to visit bodies of water to cool off from the extreme heat that is currently wreaking havoc on the nation.
Swimming has been demonstrated to be a brilliant replacement for many physical exercises. Swim England asserts that swimming guarantees a full-body workout and that just 30 minutes of swimming is equivalent to 45 minutes of a thorough workout on land. Additionally, people who swim for fun can burn more than 400 calories per hour, nearly twice as many calories as someone who walks for the same amount of time.
Water sports are also less physically taxing on the body than walking, making them the ideal form of exercise for seniors and even those with minor injuries. In addition to these advantages, swimming has been found to improve people’s well-being in more pleasing ways.
People who regularly engage in swimming exercises have a 41% lower chance of dying from cardiac diseases and stroke, according to research conducted in 2017 by Swim England’s Swimming and Health Commission.
The water has mental health benefits
According to scientific research, when people are close to the ocean or any other body of water, their stress responses decrease. Dopamine, the hormone that makes you feel good, is released when you take a cold bath. The anti-inflammatory qualities of cold water may also lessen the tendency for anxiety and depression, according to the University of Portsmouth in the UK.
Dr. Mark Lieber stated that being close to the “blue environment” has a transformative effect. “My first thought as I dove under the surface of the water was that I felt a little more buoyant than usual, likely due to the added pounds brought on by quarantine,” he said.
“But as I continued to glide through the water, my initial concern about weight gain was replaced by a feeling of catharsis, as though the water were cleansing me of the stress that had accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Stroke after stroke, I could feel my mood lifting, my mind clearing and my body loosening.”
Swim England found that nearly 500,000 Brits who are living with mental health conditions see doctors less frequently, highlighting the need for swimming’s positive mental effects in the UK.
Proof of swimming’s healing properties
A prime example of how water can improve mental health conditions is Mental Health Swims’ founder, Rachel Ashe. Four years ago, Ashe received a mental health diagnosis. Determined to help herself, she took up running. She encountered obstacles along the way, such as slipping on ice during winter runs, which made it challenging for her to continue with the exercise.
She stopped running, and her mental state regressed, but she persevered. Instead, Ashe took part in Loony Dook, an annual event for swimmers who want to cross the wintery waters of Edinburgh, Scotland. She discovered her new passion in this.
“It was very painful, and I didn’t enjoy it. But the very alien feeling of connection with my body after living unhappily in my poorly mind for such a long time was a real epiphany moment for me,” recalled Ashe.
Ashe began gathering others as she urged them to give swimming a try and experience swimming’s benefits firsthand. And at that point, she established Mental Health Swim. In just six months, Ashe was able to persuade thirty individuals to join her; as of right now, the group is active, growing, and swimming.
“I have learned that my differences are a strength rather than something to be ashamed of,” Ashe added. “I never thought I could do the things I do today.”
“I will always have a mental illness, but I am much better at looking after myself these days. I still have big feelings, but with medication, therapy, outdoor swimming and healthy, happy relationships, I am doing really well.”