We all know that any exercise helps not only the body but the brain, too, but did you know researchers think swimming can actually make you smarter?
An Australian study showed that children who regularly participated in swimming were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence, and physical development sooner than the control group of kids who did not swim.
Swimming also helps with your math skills, as you regularly compute yardage in your head.
Swimming Boosts Bone Mass
For years, researchers thought only weight-bearing exercises were able to boost bone mineral density (BDM), which is an important measurement as we age. According to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, a study put rats into three groups: running, swimming, and a control group with no exercise stimulation. While running still showed the highest increase in BMD, the swimming group also showed benefits over the control group in two categories. So while more studies are needed, these new findings show that previous research dismissing swimming’s bone benefits may need to be reconsidered.
Swimming Reduces Inflammation
Researchers now know that inflammation in the body can shorten years off our lives, so if we can reduce inflammation, we can obtain greater health. New research indicates aerobic activities, such as swimming, reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis build-up in the heart. Reducing system-wide inflammation helps reduce the risk and progression of this disease, so dive in for a healthier heart.
Swimming Reduces Depression and Lowers Stress
Swimming not only can produce endorphins just like a runner’s high, but you also can feel a relaxation response similar to yoga. Swimming constantly stretches your body, so that combined with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation rush. Swimming is also calming and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the water rushing by helps you focus inward and drown out all other distractions. This lowers stress and depression naturally.
Research also shows that swimming can reverse damage to the brain from stress through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis. So, jumping in for a swim may be exactly what you need to find your feel-good feet again.
Swimming Helps You Live Longer
While all exercise can add years to your life, studies point to swimming as one of your best choices for doing so. South Carolina researchers looked at over 40,000 men, aged 20 to 90, for over 30 years. The results showed that the men who swam regularly had a 50 percent lower death rate than the runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise.
Need more reasons to jump in and swim? Don’t forget the extra weight you will drop just by getting out there and exercising! It’s a win-win for all the right reasons!
Cover photo: Michael Lyn