As if simply being in the ocean or pool wasn't reason enough, apparently there is a number of health benefits linked to swimming, according to new research by the University of Texas and Indiana University.
Being submerged in water means you're more free from the constraints of gravity, while moving through water puts your body at work. And not just your lower body as with running or cycling, but also your upper body. Plus, moving through water puts equal pressure on all parts of your body rather than focused pressure on your knees and hips, and there’s no hard impact on your back like there is with running.
And instead of being bent forward like you would be on a bike, your back tends to be arched slightly in the opposite direction, which may help improve your posture and prevent the back injuries and pain that stem from long stretches of sedentary time.
On top of that, the way you breathe while swimming, you inhale quickly and deeply and then let the air trickle out, may improve the strength of your respiratory muscles as it keeps the lung alveoli (the broccoli shaped bits) from collapsing and sticking together.
Finally, there are mood-lifting benefits to swimming. In a study on the effects of regular winter swimming on the mood of the swimmers, tension, fatigue and negative mood points significantly decreased with the duration of the swimming period; the swimmers felt themselves to be more energetic, active and brisk.
So grab your swim suit and your towel and jump into the nearest body of water.
This article appeared as "Why Swimming Is So Good For You" in Time Magazine, 3 March 2017.