Swimming is one of the most popular physical activities in the UK. According to a 2020 survey, over 4 million people in England go swimming at least twice a month. While swimming is a favourite recreational activity of people of all ages, fun isn't the only reason people engage in this hobby and sport.
It turns out that swimming is also beneficial for one's overall well-being. Vista Health, a leading provider of echocardiogram services in the UK, highlights the numerous health benefits of swimming.
Builds Muscle Mass
Muscle mass plays a vital role in your overall health. It is what facilitates movement, utilizing energy from food to allow the body to perform a myriad of tasks. By building muscle mass, you boost your metabolism while increasing strength, improving balance and preventing injuries.
Swimming is an excellent way to build muscle mass. When you swim, you push and pull your body against the water. The resistance of the water makes your muscles work harder, putting them under stress. This results in microscopic tears in muscle fibres.
The body responds by repairing these tiny injuries. Over time, healed microtears will form muscle mass.
For a more challenging workout, you can use swim paddles that create even more resistance during each stroke.
Improves Flexibility, Balance and Coordination
Swimming has the body go through a wide range of motion, stretching the muscles and loosening stiff joints.
Additionally, improved flexibility and increased strength from swimming result in improved balance and coordination. In fact, it is used as a form of therapy for older adults and other individuals with joint and mobility challenges.
Helps Prevent and Relieve Back Pain
Swimming is an excellent workout option for those who want to get fit without worrying about developing back pain. It provides the benefits of aerobic and strength exercises but does not put as much stress on the spine as running, jumping, basketball and other high-impact activities.
Swimming strengthens the muscles of the spine without aggravating existing back pain. The water cushions the impact of gravity on joints and allows for supported movement. Additionally, swimming decreases stiffness in back muscles and improves blood flow to the spine, which may provide pain relief.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
People with diabetes can benefit significantly from swimming regularly. Swimming is an aerobic activity that can be done comfortably for long stretches because of its minimal impact on joints. Research shows that moderate to high volumes of aerobic exercises reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Aids Weight Loss
A full-body workout, swimming builds muscles and burns calories, which both help with weight loss. The number of calories burned while swimming depends on various factors like body composition, metabolism and swim stroke. But generally, the butterfly stroke is the most effective stroke for weight loss, burning around 450 calories in 30 minutes.
Enhances Sleep Quality
Regular aerobic exercise is known to improve sleep quality. Since swimming is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, it can help enhance the quality of sleep and increase the amount of time you spend in restorative sleep.
Like other physical activities, swimming increases your sleep drive or physical need to sleep. It also relieves stress, which in turn makes it easier for you to fall and stay asleep.
Boosts Mental Health
A challenging swimming workout stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain. These are chemicals that may relieve pain and reduce stress. Swimming also triggers the release of serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for boosting mood and sense of well-being.
Additionally, the repetitive nature of swimming is meditative. It can help you stay focused and relaxed.
Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
A form of aerobic exercise, swimming strengthens your heart and improves blood flow. It can help reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate, both of which help improve cardiac health.
However, swimming in very cold water may trigger irregular heart rhythms. If you have a heart condition, it's best to consult your doctor before engaging in this physical activity.
Apart from advising you on the types of exercise that are safe and beneficial for you, the medical professionals at Vista Health can provide you with a clearer picture of your heart health. We offer diagnostic services like echocardiograms, At-Home ECG Heart Monitoring, and cardiac MRI scans in our locations across the UK. Contact us today if you have queries or would like to schedule an appointment.