It is summertime, and everybody automatically starts planning about how they want to spend this time of the year. People resort to traveling, picnics, parties, beaches, and pools. As the weather gets warmer and we all look for ways to spend time under the sun and recreational water activities sound like a great way to do it.
According to the facts and statistics published by the CDC, swimming is the most popular recreational activity amongst children and teens aged 7-17. And it is the fourth most popular recreational activity in all of the US in general. You will see swimming just as an enjoyable summertime activity if you see from the public point of view.
- What if I told you that you could reap mental health benefits from it too?
Maybe you already have been doing so, but you weren’t aware of it. Swimming can be beneficial in coping with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. Apart from tantalizing your senses, it can enhance your focusing abilities and alert your brain function.
Let’s elaborate on these great benefits of swimming, shall we?
10 Ways Swimming Can Improve Mental Health and Focus
The following are ten splendid ways swimming helps in significantly improving your mental health.
1. Stress Relief
There is a reason we see advanced water therapies and expensive Jacuzzis as a luxury because water really is beneficial as a stress relief agent. Being in merely in contact with water instantly helps you loosen up both mind and body.
Being immersed in water while swimming and feeling its effects can have an almost meditative effect on your mind. Swimming might be the only fun and effective way to relieve stress compared to other physical exercises that both children and adults can enjoy and reap its immense benefits. It also leads to the following:
2. Improved Sleep
Swimming not only tires you out that would allow you to succumb to sleep, but because it is such a great stress relief, you can bid goodbye to your sleeping problems. It helps the brain function well and the body to relax, which leads to improving our sleep cycle.
Swimming is known as an entire body workout because it uses your physical strength and as well as gives your mind a workout. An active body and a healthy mind will allow you to take a goodnight sleep easily.
3. Pain Reduction
Swimming, water therapy, and Jacuzzis are known to reduce chronic pain and naturally lower stress. If it is back pain, knee pain, or any other joint pain, professional swimming training can help alleviate symptoms by learning specific strokes, and the water’s natural healing can help immensely.
4. Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, then swimming in warm water is known to lower blood sugar levels. It primarily works great for type 2 diabetes, where regular swimming keeps your blood glucose level under control.
5. A Healthier Brain
A small medical study conducted by Howard Carter of the University Of Western Australia School Of Sports Science, suggests that being immersed in water to the level of your heart increases your blood flow to the brain. As the blood flows through the cerebral arteries, it consequently increases the supply of oxygen, glucose, and nutrients, improving vascular health as well as cognitive brain function.
Therefore, it can be easily said that swimming helps cater to a healthier brain and leads to enhanced brain function.
6. Swimming Kids Are Smarter
According to a study conducted by Griffith Institute of Educational Research, children who start swimming early on in their lives reach major cognitive developmental turning points like oral expressions, reading, number knowledge, and visual-motor skills relatively earlier than their fellows who are non-swimmers. It can be concluded from this study that swimming kids are smarter.
7. Increased Focus
Swimming is so good for improving focus that for adults living with conditions such as dementia, swimming can improve their memory, focus, and concentration. Other than that, it can increase the attention span of both kids and adults. As swimming takes a lot of both physical and mental coordination, swimmers tend to dismiss any distraction and focus better than non-swimmers, even in general situations.
It requires immense determination to control breathing, perfect every stroke, and complete laps without stopping. This greatly helps in increasing attention and focus without giving up.
8. Reducing Anxiety and Depression
Regular swimming has shown effective results in lowering depression and anxiety. Even if it is just for half an hour, make sure you find time to swim consistently as it is immensely beneficial to reduce frequent episodes of depression. It releases endorphins and alarms the natural feel-good hormones that give us a greater sense of happiness, a positive mood, and overall wellbeing.
9. Color Theory of the Blue Color
Mental wellbeing can be associated with random things we surround ourselves with. It also has to do with the colors. Our brain releases endorphins naturally when we are surrounded by natural elements like plants, greenery, and water.
Therefore, naturally, even an artificial body of water like a blue swimming pool can have immense benefits on our mental wellbeing. Besides this, the blue color can be very calming and soothing to the eyes, and it affects our mind just the same to feel drawn to it.
10. Helps You Take Out Your Aggression Build-Up
Most of the time, we don’t realize, but we control negative thoughts and anger by keeping it in for long and not finding the right way to let it go or take it out. Swimming helps you in taking out that aggression that you were harboring inside for so long.
As your body undergoes strenuous activity amidst strokes and your mind controls the brain function and breathing, it automatically helps in realizing the tension build up and anger inside. Swimming works like the breathing exercise we are generally told to do when feeling angry. The inhale-exhale motion alerts our senses, so we lose our predisposed emotions.
11. Promotes Relaxation of the Body
Swimming offers us a fun chance to relax. Especially above everything, swimming promotes relaxation through breathing. As you turn off all other thoughts and your brain starts working to concentrate on your breathing pattern according to the swimming strokes you perform, it automatically helps you relax. The body’s movement releases stress from tensed muscles, and both your mental and physical self can feel increasingly relaxed for more extended periods.
All in all, swimming is an all-round exercise for both mental and physical wellbeing. You can enjoy this fun summer activity with your friends and family to alleviate their mental health. The more people who realize the benefits of swimming will continue to do it regularly even after the summer season ends. Professional swimming training can also be significantly helpful as it helps you perfect every stroke and breathing control. Above all, don’t forget to enjoy it!
Amanda Jerelyn is a Swimming Expert, currently working as a Lifestyle Blogger at Dissertation Assistance. She has five years of training and experience as a swimming coach for young adults. She likes to share her opinions, experiences, and expertise on her blog with interested audience members.