What Are the Mind and Body Benefits of Swimming? (2023)

Swimming is considered the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all the benefits of an aerobic workout without damaging your joints, and almost anyone can do it.

It's used by athletes to stay strong and fit when recovering from injury and it doesn't require any fancy equipment, just you and the deep blue.

There are far more benefits to swimming than the obvious benefits seen on the surface; your improvements in overall health are much more profound. So let's take a deep breath and dive into the benefits of swimming for both body and mind.

10 benefits of swimming for body and mind

1. Swimming improves endurance and strength

Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that helps build cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.[1]Swimming requires a high level of endurance as the entire body needs to move through the water while the legs kick and the arms pull. As the back lengthens and twists, the stomach contracts to propel the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best cardio exercises for a full-body workout.

2. Swimming increases bone mass

For years, researchers scoffed at the idea that swimming affected bone mass. After all, only weight-bearing exercise could provide that benefit, right? Not according to one in the published studyJournal of Applied Physiology. Because there are ethical reasons to avoid detailed bone testing in humans, the study mice were divided into three groups: running, swimming, and a control group with no exercise stimulation.

While running still showed the greatest increase in BMD (bone mineral density), the swimming group also showed advantages over the control group in both BMD and femoral bone weight. While more study is needed, these new findings show that previous research dismissing swimming's bone benefits may need to be revisited.[2]

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3. Swimming helps you stay flexible

Swimming requires you to stretch, stretch, twist and push in the water. Your knuckles transform into fins that extend with each kick as you push against the pressure of the liquid. This doesn't mean you shouldn't stretch yourself, but the repetitive stretching you'll find in your various movements will also help.flexibility.

4. Swimming reduces inflammation

While the cardiovascular benefits of swimming to strengthen the heart muscle are well known, research also shows that aerobic activities like swimming reduce the inflammation that leads to the formation of atherosclerosis in the heart.[3]

Reducing system-wide inflammation results in less disease progression in many other areas.

5. Swimming protects against burning calories

Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but what most don't realize is that it can be just as effective as jumping on a treadmill. Swimming can burn as many or more calories than running, depending on the type of swimming you choose and the intensity. Also, you don't have to worry about sweat getting into your eyes.

For example, a 10-minute swim burns 60 calories breaststroke, backstroke burns 80 calories, freestyle burns 100 calories, and butterfly burns 150 calories.

(Video) Can swimming improve your mental health? - BBC London

For comparison, running a 10-minute mile burns about 100 calories. So a solid 30-minute butterfly session can burn 150 more calories than a 5K run at the same time.

6. Swimming can relieve exercise-induced asthma

nothing is as frustrating astry to exerciseand not being able to catch your breath. Unlike training in dry gym air, or despite seasonal pollen levels, swimming allows you to breathe moist air while you work out. Not only does swimming help relieve asthma symptoms, but studies have shown that it can improve the overall condition of your lungs.

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In a recent study, a group of children who completed a six-week swimming program saw improvements in symptom severity, snoring, mouth breathing, and hospital and emergency room visits. These benefits were still noticeable one year after the end of the swimming program. Even people without asthma can benefit from swimming, for example. B. increasing lung volume and learning good breathing techniques.[4]

7. Swimming can improve your mental health and reduce stress.

Love that natural endorphin hit? While many call it the runner's high, swimming can also induce all those feel-good emotions. It's no secret that aerobic exercise is good for mental health. However, swimming seems to be one of the most beneficial options.

Swimming not only releases endorphins, but also stimulates neurogenesis in the hippocampus. It's a fancy term for "the growth of new brain cells in a part of the brain that atrophies under chronic stress."[5]

In addition to the happy hormones, you may feel a yoga-like relaxation response when swimming. As I mentioned before, swimming stretches your body all the time. Combine this with deep, rhythmic breathing and you can experience a relaxation unique to this sport.

Swimming is also relaxing and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the rushing water help you focus and drown out all other distractions. This naturally reduces stress and depression.

Research also shows that swimming can reverse stress-induced brain damage through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis.[6]

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(Video) 10 Health Benefits Of Swimming

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So if you feel like you're drowning emotionally, jumping into a real body of water might be just what you need to get up and feeling good.

8. Swimming in salt water can be a beauty treatment for your skin

Regular swimming in salt water helps the skin retain moisture and detoxify to encourage new cell growth.[7]You will be amazed at how soft and healthy your skin will be after an invigorating swim in the ocean.

9. Swimming can make you smarter

Of course, any exercise is good for the mind, but can swimming make you smarter?

The Australian study focused on children taking swimming lessons versus a control group of non-swimmers. Results showed that children who regularly swam were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence and physical development earlier than the control group.[8]

Swimming can also help with math skills, as swimmers regularly calculate distance in heat or interval drills. It improves your addition and subtraction skills.

10. Swimming can prolong your life

While each exercise can provide more significant health and longevity benefits, studies suggest that swimming is one of the best ways to do it. Researchers at the University of South Carolina followed 40,547 men ages 20 to 90 for more than 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50% lower mortality rate than runners, walkers or men who didn't exercise.[9]

Benefits of swimming in cold water

Cold water swimming is swimming in a pool, lake or pond when it is cooler. According to several researchers and scientists, swimming in cold water has many benefits. Cold water helps to increase the white blood cell count as the body is forced to respond to changing conditions.[10]

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Swimming in cold water also cleans the veins, arteries and capillaries. It pushes the blood to the surface and pushes the cold down. In other words, it helps warm our extremities. Repeated exposure adapts us to the cold. Many studies have shown us the connection between cold water and stress reduction. Whatever you're facing - stress, anxiety, uncertainty - can fade away with the silent exhaustion of a good series of laps in cold water.[11]

How does the brain react to swimming?

Swimming and brain health go hand in hand as it is ameditative exercise. Your brain function improves through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, in which the brain replaces cells lost through stress. When you enter the water, your spirits will be instantly lifted by the freshness of the water and you will be freed from fatigue and depression.

A recent study by Dr. Howard Carter from the School of Sport Science at the University of Western Australia shows how the brain reacts to swimming. The team of scientists, led by Carter, hypothesized that immersion in water up to the level of the right atrium of the heart would increase the blood supply to the brain. The right atrium is on the upper right side of the heart and is one of the four chambers of the heart. The right atrium receives blood from two main veins: the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava.

(Video) The benefits of swimming for your brain

The function of these two veins is to return the blood which supplied oxygen to various parts of the body; the returning blood is therefore oxygen-poor. The coronary sinus, a smaller vein in the wall of the heart, also supplies blood to the right atrium.[12]

"We found that cerebral blood flow is greater when subjects are immersed in water at heart level compared to when they are on land, which set the stage for further investigation of its effects on cerebrovascular health," said Dr. Howard Carter inThe American Journal of Physiology.

While participants were submerged in water, blood flow to the middle cerebral arteries increased by 14%, while blood flow to the posterior cerebral arteries increased by 9%.

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"Like land training, different types of water activities like water aerobics and swimming have slightly different effects on heart function and cerebral blood flow," says Carter.

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The act of swimming requires the use of virtually all of our senses, including sight, sound, touch and smell. This is a rare opportunity to take a break from your electronic devices. When the water flows over us, it is very relaxing, almost like a massage. Simply put, swimming is a great way to de-stress and be more present in the moment.

Jump in the pool if you're just starting an exercise routine or want to shake things up. Regular swimming brings numerous physical, mental and emotional benefits. Do you feel motivated to take these glasses now? The water is great!


Don't have time to read the entire article? Read this.

What Are the Mind and Body Benefits of Swimming? (1)

(Video) 8 Surprising Benefits of Swimming (and 4 RISKS)

Health benefits of swimming: Increases bone mass, helps maintain flexibility, improves muscle definition and increases strength.

Research also shows aerobic activity such as swimmingreduces inflammationleading to the accumulation of atherosclerosis in the heart.

Not only does swimming release endorphins, it also stimulates the growth of new brain cells in a part of the brain that is wearing out underneath.chronic stress.

Nadarimproves the symptomssuch as snoring and promotes good breathing technique and lung volume.

Different types of water activities, such as water aerobics and swimming, have slightly different effects onheart function and cerebral blood flow.

(Video) Why Swimming Is The Best Exercise for Your Brain

Featured photo credits:Unsplash via unsplash.com


What is the benefit of swimming on body and mind? ›

Swimming, like all exercise, releases endorphins in your brain. These are the hormones that make you feel good. They help to increase positivity and bring about a sense of wellbeing and happiness. Some research has shown that swimming may help to treat stress.

What are the benefits of swimming at least 10 benefits? ›

10 Hidden Benefits of Swimming
  • Swimming Improves Social Well Being. ...
  • Kids Who Swim Become Active Adults. ...
  • Swimming Makes You Smarter. ...
  • Swimming Teaches Team-Building Skills. ...
  • Swimming Burns More Calories than Jogging. ...
  • Swimming Slows Down Aging. ...
  • Swimming is Good for Asthma. ...
  • Swimmers are More Confident.
Jan 2, 2022

What are the benefits of swimming in your everyday life? ›

Swimming burns calories and can help people manage their weight, tone their muscles, and improve their overall health and fitness. This activity engages several different muscle groups and the cardiovascular system, and it can provide an excellent workout for a wide variety of individuals.

How beneficial is swimming? ›

As well as improving physical health, swimming can also boost your mood and reduce stress levels to improve your mental wellbeing. Exercising in water means reduced strain on your joints when compared to other exercises like running or football.

What is the top 10 benefits of swimming? ›

Benefits of Swimming: 10 Reasons Why You Should Dive In
  • Boost your cardiovascular system. ...
  • Take care of your health. ...
  • Strengthen your muscles. ...
  • High health impact, low body impact. ...
  • Increase your flexibility. ...
  • Boost your mood and relieve stress. ...
  • Get a better night's sleep. ...
  • Work out without being out of pocket.
Jun 13, 2022

What is the most important skills in swimming? ›

SWIMMING SKILLS: Essential swimming skills include being able to enter the water and resurface, controlling breathing, floating, turning, and moving to safety in the water and exiting.

What are the benefits of learning to swim for adults? ›

Whether a beginner or advanced, the very nature of swimming, with its focus on breath control and simultaneous motion of nearly all major muscle groups gets blood pumping, strengthens the heart, and improves lung capacity.

Does swimming help arthritis? ›

Swimming can be a good choice of exercise if you have arthritis because it: stimulates blood circulation and can reduce muscle stiffness and ease pain. helps to maintain and build strength and cardiovascular fitness. can help make your joints more flexible and.

What is the most important body part for swimming? ›

A swimmer needs strong legs for underwaters, starts, turns, and overall forward movement, but an excess of muscle also means increased drag and more weight to pull. With swimming being an intensely aerobic activity (requiring the use of the entire body), legs play an important role in a swimmer's success.

Does swimming help inflammation? ›

These results demonstrate that swimming exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the production of several pro-inflammatory mediators and increasing IL-10 levels.

How does swimming change your body? ›

Does swimming change your body shape? Yes, swimming definitely changes your body shape. The more you swim the more will your body become unrecognizable, even to yourself. Swimming creates a slightly elongated, broad-shouldered, thin, and fit body shape, which many of us covet.

What does 30 minutes of swimming do? ›

As well as being a great form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming just 30 minutes a week can help to guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Supports the body. Water supports up to 90 per cent of the body's weight.

How long does it take to see the benefits of swimming? ›

As long as you maintain a healthy diet alongside your swimming regime, spending just 30 minutes 3 times a week in the pool will help you stay fit. For the best results, it's important to stay consistent with your swimming routine. With a consistent water workout, you should begin seeing weight loss within 30 days.

Does swimming make you look younger? ›

In terms of age markers like muscle mass and lung function swimming really does help you stay younger for longer. A long-term study at Indiana University Center for the Science of Swimming found that swimmers aged over 35 swimming roughly 3,200 to 4,500 metres three to five times a week, postponed the ageing process.

What is the most important thing to remember when swimming? ›

Safe Swimming

Always warm up and stretch before swimming. Take time off from training if they feel shoulder, neck, or other pain. They can try a different stroke or do something else out of the pool to stay in shape. Swimmers can go back to their regular stroke after the pain is gone.

What is the number 1 reason why we should all learn to swim? ›

The most important reason is that swimming is the only sport which can save your child's life. Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill.

What does swimming teach you about life? ›

Swimming teaches us to set goals and do everything in our power to get ourselves there. Without this motivation, none of us would ever be successful. This motivation and drive to succeed will stay with us for the rest of our lives, both in and out of the pool.

Is walking in water as good as walking on land? ›

A 2015 study also found that walking in water can raise your heart rate more than walking on land. This can give your heart and lungs more of a workout. According to another study , water walking may help with lowering blood pressure, especially for people who are new to exercise.

Can swimming help knees? ›

Why swimming is good for knee pain. When you swim, the buoyancy of the water supports your body weight, meaning less stress is placed on your joints, which can reduce the pain you feel. If you swim regularly, the muscles around your knees will build up, strengthening the support around your joint.

What is the best water exercise to strengthen knees? ›

Stand in chest-high water. Keeping your body in the water, quickly pull your knees up toward your armpits (with your knees wide and heels toward your groin), while reaching your hands down to touch your feet as they come up to about the level of your hips. Return to start position, and repeat as quickly as comfortable.

What are the 5 important fundamentals of swimming? ›

  • Five Basic Skills In Swimming.
  • Water Comfort.
  • Breath Control.
  • Floating.
  • Kicking.
  • Strokes.
  • being comfortable in the water.
  • panic due to unintentional submersion.

Can you get a good body just from swimming? ›

Can you have a total body transformation from swimming only? Absolutely. The calorie burn and cardio impacts will help you lose weight, if that's what you're looking for. And the strength benefits can help with muscle definition and toning.

What body parts does swimming work? ›

All swimming strokes do give a workout for the body's main muscles, including abdominal, back, forearm, shoulder and gluteal muscles, as well as hamstrings.

Is swimming good for colon? ›

Not only can swimming help calm the pain we might feel from bloating and cramping, but it can also help you maintain regular intestinal movement. Just as a short walk can help move our bowels, so too can a short, gentle swim.

Why do my joints hurt after swimming? ›

Swimming injuries are often caused by repetitive stress on a particular joint, and the location of the injury frequently depends on which stroke is used most. For example, breaststrokers commonly develop hip pain and neck pain because of the strong frog-leg kicks and repeatedly lifting the head to breathe.

Is swimming good for hip problems? ›

Swimming and water aerobics are wonderful exercises for your hip joints. Exercising in water allows you to strengthen your muscles without putting as much stress and pressure on your joints, Humphrey says.

How many time should you swim to tone your body? ›

Start with 15 to 20 minute swims every other day, and then gradually increase to 30 minute swims five days a week, as your body allows. If you start a new swimming routine at too high an intensity, muscle soreness and fatigue could cause you to give up.

What happens in the brain when you swim? ›

The activity of swimming activates both hemispheres of the brain and all four lobes at the same time. The result of activation, connection, and communication is increased cognition and easier learning. This can be a major positive result of swimming for both children and adults.

What part of the body does swimming improve? ›

“Swimming not only engages your legs, but also recruits your upper body and core, especially your lats — the muscles of your middle back — and triceps,” she explains. Certain movements like dolphin kicks, flutter kicks, and more can help strengthen your core. And your lungs also really benefit from this sport.

Does swimming help brain function? ›

Swimming supports the creation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a compound that helps repair brain cells and supports the growth of new ones. BDNF improves your brain's neuroplasticity, which can improve your cognitive function, including learning and memory.

What are 3 reasons swimming is good for your brain? ›

Regular swimming has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, immune response and mood. Swimming may also help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.

Why do I feel so good after swimming? ›

Swimming Releases Endorphins

As with any form of exercise, when we swim, our brain is prompted to release feel-good chemicals into our system called endorphins. These endorphins can help our body deal with pain and stress not only in that moment but also in the hours following.

What happens to your heart when you swim? ›

Swimming works the heart and lungs. This trains the body to use oxygen more efficiently, which is generally reflected in declines in the resting heart rate and breathing rate. It uses the arms, the legs, and other muscle groups in between. This improves muscle strength and flexibility.

Which is the most important skill in swimming? ›

One of the most valuable things that swimmers need to learn is proper breathing. It's not just about taking air in and out of the lungs. It's a complex, intelligent process that gives an edge to swimmers, and makes them perform better in and out of their game.

Why swimming is the best exercise for mental health? ›

Swimming can improve mood in both men and women. For people with fibromyalgia, swimming can decrease anxiety, and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of pregnant people and has a positive effect on the pregnant person's mental health.

How much does water help your brain? ›

So why do we need water? Well, water helps your brain cells communicate with each other, which is important when you go about your day. Water also clears out toxins and waste that impair brain function. Not to mention, it also carries nutrients to your brain to keep your brain healthy.

Is swimming good for the nervous system? ›

Swimming is especially great for stress relief because the strokes you take involve rhythmic breathing that can trigger the part of your nervous system that's responsible for rest and relaxation. Swimming is also a great way to burn calories.


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