Everyone says swimming is good for you, but do you ever wonder about the specific ways in which it helps your mind and body? From joints and muscle groups, to confidence and self-esteem, swimming has a myriad of benefits for your whole body. This article from the Center for Disease Control explains some of positive effects of water-based exercises.

General Health

Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.

Water-Based Exercise and Chronic Illness

Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases in a variety of different ways, depending on what type of chronic disease they suffer from. For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. People with rheumatoid arthritis have more health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities. Water-based exercise also improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.

Water-Based Exercise and Mental Health

Swimming can improve mood in both men and women. For people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mothers’ mental health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections.

WaterBased Exercise and Older Adults

Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving the quality of life and decreasing disability. It also improves or maintains the bone health of post-menopausal women.

No matter what your age, weight, or level of athletic ability, swimming is an excellent way to get in some low-impact exercise. By making swimming   part of your regular exercise routine, you can start to see the benefits in a very short amount of time throughout your whole body.