It’s common knowledge that exercise can reduce stress levels and pull you out of a bad mood. Swimming, however, has an especially therapeutic effect. Like other workouts, swimming releases endorphins, those natural compounds that make you feel good. There are other benefits as well that are unique to the rhythmic and aerobic forms of exercise like swimming.
Here are five reasons why swimming reduces stress (and how you can take advantage as a swimming pool owner):
1. Swimming increases mindfulness
As you swim laps, the soft splashing of water muffles the sounds of the outside world and with each repeated stroke you naturally fall into a meditative state. Swimming requires that you take deep, regular breaths as you stretch and relax all of your skeletal muscles. It engages your entire body and focuses your mind on the coordinated movements of your arms and legs. Counting your laps can turn into a kind of slow mantra, further encouraging you into a meditative state.
Psychologists often use this kind of deep mindfulness to treat depression in therapy sessions. Mindfulness helps patients focus on the present moment rather than dwell on painful memories of the past or stressful thoughts of the future.
As a pool owner, you can easily access this meditative state. Anytime you’re feeling down or overwhelmed by work or your personal life, take a quick dip in the pool. Even just a few laps or minutes of treading water can make a huge difference in your mood. Try setting a routine that gets you in the pool every day to experience a long-lasting effect on your overall wellbeing.
2. Swimming helps you get a better night’s sleep
Research has shown that regular exercise improves your quality of sleep which in turn reduces stress. Unfortunately, many of us have trouble sleeping because we’re so stressed out. Do you see where this is going? Fortunately, regular physical activity can help to end this vicious cycle. So if you make it a habit of swimming a few laps in the pool each day after work (or before), you’ll fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and feel less stressed when you wake up.
3. Swimming improves your memory
The parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) may have greater volume in people who exercise. Even just 120 minutes of moderate exercise a week may improve your memory! For maximum results, however, health professionals recommend that you aim for half an hour of moderate exercise each day. You’ll find that with a pool just a few steps from your backdoor, 30 minutes of swimming or water aerobics on a daily basis is much easier to achieve.
4. Swimming creates new brain cells
77 percent of Americans reported in 2014 that they regularly experience the physical symptoms associated with stress. 33 percent reported living with “extreme stress.” These are scary statistics considering when you’re under chronic stress, part of your brain actually atrophies over time! Fortunately, swimming can promote the growth of new brain cells, a process called “hippocampal neurogenesis,” reversing the negative health effects of stress.
5. Swimming makes you feel better about yourself
Exercise improves our physical health which in turn makes us happier and more content. Swimming just three times a week can raise your mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety, improve your self-worth, and lead to an increase in your general satisfaction in life.
Swimming can reduce your stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing in many ways. While public pools are a great option for some, not everyone has access to a pool in their neighborhood. Public pools can also become overcrowded, making it hard to simply focus on your breath.
If you’re looking to incorporate swimming into your weekly exercise routine, becoming a pool owner may be a wise investment in your health. You can easily find the time to fit in a quick swim before or after work, pushing you to exercise more often. You also have the pool all to yourself, allowing you to completely relax into your workout. If your pool is too small to swim laps, treading water and water aerobics both have similar physical and mental benefits.
Even just living near a body of water has a soothing effect on your mental health, making you a happier and healthier person—and who doesn’t want that?
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