Swimming laps is a great way to get your body moving and your heart pumping. It’s low-impact, uses your whole body, and is a helluva lot more relaxing than sweating away in a spin class for an hour.
Still not convinced that it’s worth getting into your swimmers? Well, here’s the kicker. Swimming is also amaaaazing for your mind. Whether you’re managing a mental health problem or just looking for a little relaxation, hitting the pool can really help. Find out all the ways that swimming benefits your mental health below.
It boosts your mood
Moving your body through water is no small feat. In fact, you’ve got to get all of the major muscle groups involved to really get things going. As a result, swimming is a pretty serious workout. This kickstarts the flow of feel-good chemicals through the body – and there’s nothing like a healthy dose of endorphins and a splash of serotonin to put a spring in your step.
It chills you out
Hopping into the pool is a great way to take your mind off your worries, deepen your breathing and release tension from your body. When you swim laps, you have to focus on the present, so that you don’t start daydreaming and drifting into the next lane. You have to pay attention to your breathing, to avoid gulping down a mouthful of water whenever you take a breath; and you have to send your attention to different muscle groups, to keep your form on point. This is a winning combo when it comes to being mindful and feeling chill.
It’ll help you catch zeds
Feeling wired and tense before bed is a recipe for a restless night of tossing and turning. Swimming laps on a regular basis will help you to get rid of pent-up energy so that, when you hit the sack, you’ll nod off more easily and sleep more soundly. With a more regular sleeping pattern, you’ll wake up feeling rested and fresh (or at least make it to 9.30 before you reach for your third coffee).
It looks good on everyone
A regular swimming practice will help you to feel more confident about your body and happier in your skin. Swimming is easier on the body than a lot of other forms of exercise – making it a great choice for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those with injuries. While stripping down to a swimsuit might seem scary, it can also be totally liberating. Over time, you’ll build strength and stamina and might begin to appreciate your body more for what it can do.
It’s cheap ‘n’ cheerful
Swimming is a great option for people who want to get active without breaking the bank. There are heaps of low-cost (or no-cost) swimming areas, including public pools, ocean pools, lakes, rivers, swimming holes and a mate’s backyard pool. Less money spent on a pricey gym membership means more money to spend on other things you enjoy. Win-win!
It’ll get you out of the house
Another awesome thing about swimming is that you can’t do it in your bedroom. It’ll pull you out of your comfort zone and might even get you mingling with some new people. Pick an outdoor option to get your daily dose of vitamin D – but don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!
Whether you’re new to laps or you’ve been tearing up the local pool for years, challenging yourself to dive into a swimming routine will have huge benefits for your mental health and wellbeing.
What can I do now?
- Sign up for Laps 4 Life and start swimming laps to support young Aussies living with mental health difficulties.
- Find out how to motivate yourself to exercise when you seriously cbf.
- Check out our tips for healthy eating and make the most of your post-swim refuel.