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All The Ways Swimming Can Boost Your Mental Health

by Jane Grant

Thanks to Marcus Ng for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Summer is here, and for most families, this means taking a trip to the beach or spending hours lounging by the swimming pool to escape the heat. It's no wonder why so many people are taking to the water this time of year, and according to the CDC, swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens. Moreover, most Americans swim regardless of the season, and over 91 million individuals over the age of 16 swim in lakes, oceans and rivers every year. Swimming can help you stay strong and fit, but it also does wonders for your mental well-being and overall happiness. Dive in, and learn about all the ways swimming can help improve your mental health.

It reduces depression and anxiety

Millions of people all over the world are currently dealing with depression and anxiety. While medication and therapy can help a person cope, doing any form of exercise, such as swimming, can help to fight negative emotions. A recent study has found that swimming just once every two to three weeks can ease anxiety and depression symptoms. Moreover, it can increase happiness, as 43 percent of all participants in the study said that swimming made them feel happier. If you're currently dealing with negative emotions, make swimming a part of your weekly habit and find inner peace and happiness while you're in the water. If you're not a strong swimmer or you're just learning how to swim, develop confidence in the water by practicing in controlled settings, such as a pool, instead of swimming in the ocean. You may also ask a skilled friend or family member to swim with you so they can look out for your safety and help you improve.

It fights stress

A little bit of stress can be a good thing, as it helps to keep you alert and focused, but too much stress can lead to anxiety and physical health problems such as heart disease and obesity. Swimming is a good stress reliever because being in the water can have a soothing effect on the mind. Also, concentrating on your technique can increase mindfulness so you're more aware of your emotions and become more sensitive to your body's needs. Mindfulness also reduces activity in the part of your brain that responds to stress, so you'll feel more relaxed and at ease throughout the day.

It improves sleep quality

Those who are currently dealing with sleep issues know that lack of sleep can lead to health problems, forgetfulness, irritability and anger. If you have trouble sleeping, you can improve your sleep quality by swimming at least a few hours before bedtime. Most experts don't recommend working out late at night as this can be detrimental to sleep, but swimming is a gentle way to release pent up stress and energy, so you'll feel more relaxed and have a good night's sleep. Make sure to swim in warm waters to heighten the relaxing effect, and once you start feeling a little tired, rinse off, change into dry clothes, and get ready for bed.

Swimming is a great way to take care of your body and mind. Make it a habit to swim for your health and mental wellness, and experience the healing benefits of being in the water.

This article was written by Jane Grant who is a freelance writer. We thank Jane for this work.

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