The benefits of swimming will immediately make you want to take the plunge

People who start swimming often make it a long-term habit – and they do for good reason. It can be the ultimate wellness boost.

During the lockdown, we saw the rise of wild water swimming across people’s Instagram accounts (though we quietly dodged this one, thinking about the mud), and public pools across the country. suddenly had to be booked for once the restrictions were relaxed.

Now that it’s summer, swimming is one of the most refreshing ways to exercise and get a rush of endorphins (the hormone of happiness).

In addition, sport is full of benefits, both for the body and the mind.

Here are all of the best places to swim in and around London right now.

Avid swimmer Suzie tells us she swims an average of 1.5 km each day before working out at her local pool.

She does this for cardio exercise, but also for “the best mood boost”.

“It really helps me deal with my anxiety which is particularly high before the work day. It’s a gentle way to move your body with very little impact and allows me to clear my mind, giving me a good feel. state of mind to start the day.

“If I’m ever cranky, my roommate now asks me if I went swimming that day, so it obviously works for others to see too,” she says.

On her average swim, which is 60 lengths, she burns around 260 to 300 calories, which is a big part of her exercise routine.

Why can swimming be good for us?

Dr Deborah Lee of online pharmacy Dr Fox tells GLAMOR that in many ways and for many people, swimming is “the perfect way to exercise.”

“As we age, the tendency to a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, leads to a gradual increase in weight. These factors increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and dementia.

“Aging is linked to muscle loss, and many middle-aged people suffer from sarcopenia – a relative loss of muscle strength,” she explains.

The aspect of muscle strength is just one way swimming can benefit us.

Dr Lee says swimming is great for the following reasons:

It is a fantastic form of aerobic exercise. The water takes the weight of the body, relieving the pressure on the joints. This can be especially beneficial for people with osteoarthritis or other inflammatory conditions affecting their joints. Swimming is suitable for almost everyone, young and old, disabled and injured people, pregnant women and children. By pushing against the resistance of the water, swimming builds muscle strength as well as exercising the heart and lungs. This increases your “maximum oxygen uptake” – which is your body’s efficiency in delivering oxygen to exercising muscles. As your physical strength increases, body fat decreases and there are favorable changes in blood lipids (cholesterol). Regular aerobic exercise protects against the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Regular swimming helps combat stress and reduces levels of anxiety and depression. Swimming is a social activity that helps you feel connected. It can be a way to overcome loneliness. Regular swimming has been shown to reduce visceral fat which secretes hormones that cause chronic inflammation, a biochemical process that underlies the development of many chronic diseases we see today.

Unlike other forms of exercise, swimming is widely accessible and can still be suitable for a number of foods and physical conditions.

How wild swimming cured my anxiety

How often should we swim for the health benefits?

There’s no right answer here – it all depends on your health goals, says Dr Lee.

“The NHS recommends that a 30-minute swim session count as one of your recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

“Moderate-intensity exercise is exercise that makes you feel a little hot, sweaty, and slightly short of breath. So you have to swim fast enough to feel that. A fast breaststroke or a slow crawl is an option.

“Swimming clubs recommend that fitness swimming requires 3 to 5 swims per week, 20 minutes or more per session.

“It means fast swim and swim lengths with different strokes such as breaststroke, backstroke and front crawl. Eventually, you might end up swimming for an hour twice a week. An hour-long swim like this is a distance of 2 miles! “

How you do it is up to you – whether you’re a beginner, a class or a club can be an easy way to get in and hold yourself accountable for showing up.

And if you haven’t learned to swim yet, there’s no shame in learning this skill later in life.

Ultimately, “all swimming is good swimming,” which Dr. Lee says is key to your mindset in how you approach it.

How many calories can you burn while swimming?

Dr Lee says, “On average, an adult weighing 150 pounds will burn 400 calories per hour while swimming. However, heavier people consume more calories. The faster you swim, the more calories you burn. The fast crawl can burn 700 calories per hour.

It’s important not to be obsessed with counting calories of course – the best exercise is a style that is enjoyed, that makes us feel good, and we notice that we are developing according to our goals.

The best sports swimwear with stand to buy for swimming and water sports this summer

Are the benefits both mental and physical?

The short answer is yes – generally exercise your body and mind better.

After a year of uncertainty and heightened anxiety, developing a healthy habit can be a way to bring a sense of routine back into your daily life.

“Your mind and body are very closely interconnected. If you improve one, it will lead to consecutive improvements in the other.

“Swimming has been shown to increase the levels of endorphins, the brain’s natural pain relievers, and so after swimming you often feel calmer and more relaxed,” says Dr. Lee.

In 2012, a survey of 1,200 adult swimmers between the ages of 16 and 45 found that 74% said swimming helped relieve stress and tension.

Dr Lee adds, “Researchers found that swimming increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – a protein essential for the growth and development of neurons in the brain and spinal cord.

Swimming is also a great way to improve your sleep. Moderate intensity exercise has been shown to improve the quality and duration of sleep, which again has many health benefits.

“Swimming improves fitness and endurance, but it is likely that this will then lead to improvements in self-esteem and resilience in life.”

We could all have a little more of this tbh.

Can whitewater swimming be better for you, or is it more dangerous if
are you a beginner?

Interest in whitewater swimming has always been there, but the lockdown has made it more common.

But it’s not something you should just jump into without preparing yourself first.

Dr Lee says, “The main difference is the temperature. Pools are kept at a constant temperature of 28-30 ° C, but open water can be 22 ° C or less.

“There may be health benefits to swimming in cold water. The shock of cold water causes an outpouring of cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine and endorphins. The blood is directed to your vital organs, your heart begins to race, and you feel a sensation Some experts believe that regular immersion in cold water can strengthen the immune system.

“However, be careful to start. Always swim with others, not alone. Gradually adjust to cold temperatures, otherwise you may shock your body and gradually warm up after a cold swim.” To make this easier, it can be helpful to wear a wetsuit, like this one that allows freedom of movement while keeping you covered.

Advice on this can be found from The Outdoor Swimming Society.

Also, worried about ticks? In fact, they don’t get into water – they’re found in grasses that grow near bodies of water. So you should always check your body afterwards if you’ve walked through these areas to get to the water and see your doctor if you see any (due to Lyme disease), but you shouldn’t let this fear be. prevent you from taking the leap.

Have a good swim – we will meet you at the water’s edge.

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