10 Mental Health Benefits of Swimming and Water Exercise
Did you know that Aqua Zumba is a thing? There are many different water aerobic exercises that you can engage in that not only improve overall health but also have mental health benefits.
Are you curious about the benefits of swimming on mental health? Keep reading to learn more about the mental health benefits of swimming and water exercise.
One: Swimming Makes You Happy
Do you need surefire ways to improve your mood and smile? Swimming and water sports can help you experience feelings of happiness by releasing endorphins.
Endorphins act on opiate receptors in your brain. They increase pleasure which results in a feeling of well-being or happiness. Exercise such as swimming is a great way to produce endorphins.
Two: Reduce Stress
If you are looking for a way to relieve stress, hop in the pool. Swimming can help reduce stress.
Remember the endorphins? When the endorphins are released during fitness activities, it helps us feel good. This, in turn, helps reduce the amount of cortisol in our bodies.
Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. However, this is not the only way that swimming helps reduce stress.
Swimming relieves stress because it forces you to be in the moment. Instead of focusing on the million things you have to get done, you are focusing on your breathing and the movements of your body.
Instead of being attached to a phone screen with a million notifications screaming for your attention, you can step away from the tech and take a break.
Three: Increases Blood Flow to the Brain
How does increasing the blood flow to your brain improve mental health? Increased blood flow to your brain helps improve memory, mood, gives you more clarity and increases your focus.
A study completed in 2014 showed that when submerged in water, the blood flow to your brain increases by 14 percent. Note, the study said submerged, this means you can achieve the same effect with recreational swimming, or just being in the water.
Four: Sleep Well
Sleep is very important when it comes to mental health. Not getting enough sleep can cause depression, stress, brain fog, anxiety, and more. When you are sleeping well, your brain is better able to process emotional information.
Exercising helps you sleep better at night, and swimming gives your body a full workout. In addition, because swimming reduces your level of stress, it helps you sleep.
Swimming helps you with relaxation in similar ways to stress. As you are in the water, you are focused on your breathing. This allows you to practice deep breathing, which can help with relaxation.
Swimming also allows you to focus on the moment, similar to the concept of mindfulness. You can actually practice mindfulness while you swim.
Six: Social Activity
Staying connected with others matters in many ways when it comes to mental health. When swimming or participating in water aerobic classes, you get the opportunity to meet new people.
When you spend time with others, it can improve your mood. It also reduces the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
If you become friends with your swimming buddies and start confiding in them, the benefits are increased. When you have someone you can confide in, it decreases the risk of stress-related illnesses.
Finally, social activities improve brain performance. This can help with memory and decrease the risk of developing dementia.
Seven: Decrease Anxiety and Depression
There have been many studies done in the area of mental health and swimming. Some of these looked at swimmers around the world and how they felt after swimming.
Swimmers reported feeling that activities that were water-based released tension. Around 68 percent of swimmers said that being in the water makes them feel happier and better about themselves.
Another great thing is that individuals with depression reported increased self-esteem when taking part in water-based activities.
Eight: Decrease Aggression
How do you get your aggression or anger out when you are feeling it? As adults, we may have some coping tools; however, physical activity is a great way to get out aggression.
This is especially true for children. Because children have not yet developed all the coping techniques that adults have, swimming is a great option for them.
Swimming gives them the opportunity to exercise in a fun way. It also allows them to kick and focus on breathing. This makes swimming the perfect safe activity to help kids harness their aggression.
Nine: Increase Focus
Do you have a child with ADHD? Swimming could help them increase their focus.
When you are swimming, you need to be able to do multiple things at once. Not only do you need to focus on your breathing, but you need to focus on how your legs and arms move while swimming.
Swimming teaches kids how to focus without making it feel like they are learning something. It also gives another physical outlet for children who need to get some energy out.
Ten: Blue Mind Theory
Have you noticed that when you are around water, you feel calmer? Blue mind is the terminology used to refer to the sense of calm and peace you get when around water.
While it is great to head to the beach or a waterfall to achieve this state, it’s not always possible. However, lakes, rivers, and even pools can achieve the same effect. Also, you do not necessarily have to be in the water to achieve these benefits, you could get them by attending water sport events.
Dive in With These Mental Health Benefits
The importance of mental health cannot be stressed enough. Fortunately, swimming is a great way to boost your mental health.
Are you interested in reaping these mental health benefits? Come visit The Wave and dive into all the children’s activities, swim lessons, and group fitness classes we have to offer.