I was born and raised in the cold, landlocked prairies of Canada, but I still managed to be a pretty avid swimmer for my entire life. You might say that I am truly a fish out of water—unless you count the numerous slews and frozen ponds of Alberta as bodies of water. In any case, I am grateful to my parents for having allowed me to be a bit of a pool rat as a child. If you weren’t so lucky, you can still benefit by getting into a swimming pool ASAP.
Health Benefits of Swimming
A while ago, I wrote about a report produced by the Swimming and Health Commission called The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming, which I encourage you to go check out. In this study, it was estimated that those who swim for recreation or competition are eight times more likely to meet general physical activity guidelines (which means they were active for at least 150 minutes per week). The authors estimated that long-term swim training will also improve cardiorespiratory fitness or endurance in everyone, including (but not limited to) pregnant women, children with asthma, and adults with osteoarthritis.
The study also states that any amount of swimming, compared to those who engaged in no swimming, was associated with a 28% reduction in all-cause and a 41% reduction in cardiovascular-disease-cause mortality. The evidence that swimming has significantly improved health, quality of life, and a sense of community is also quite impressive.
Aside from that study, there’s plenty of other evidence that going for a dip now and then is a great idea. Some of the more obvious benefits are that swimming is a full-body workout that requires you to to move your entire body against the resistance of the water. Because of this full-body resistance, swimming elevates your heart rate, which aids in building endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It can also keep you cool on a hot day. But let’s look at some of the less obvious benefits of swimming.