Swimming is an excellent way to work your entire body and cardiovascular system. An hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without all the impact on your bones and joints. Swimming has many more benefits that those obvious advantages seen on the surface; its improvements to overall health go much deeper. So, let’s take a big breath, and dive into some benefits of swimming:

1. Full-body workout

When you jump into the pool, everything gets a workout. It may seem like your legs and arms do most of the work, but that’s not the case. Swimming strengthens your core, raises your heart rate, and engages nearly all the muscles in your back. It’s hard to hit all these muscle groups without doing a 2-hour gym session. When you swim, you get that full-body burn in as little as 20 minutes.

2. Improve arthritis symptoms

If you live with arthritis, many forms of exercise can be tough — but swimming isn’t one of them. Swimming can even decrease pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. You can choose a high intensity swimming workout to really get your heart rate up or pick a relaxed routine if that’s more your vibe. Either way, it won’t aggravate arthritis and will help your overall health.

3. Cure with asthma

In addition to building cardiovascular strength, swimming can help increase lung capacity and improve breathing control. Although the humid air of indoor pools may also help improve asthma symptoms, researcher indicate that disinfectant chemicals used in pools can make the symptoms of this condition worse. These chemicals may also increase the likelihood of a swimmer developing the condition.

4. Stay flexible

Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still stretch on your own, but repetitive stretching found in your various strokes also helps with flexibility.

5. Regulates blood sugar

Limiting your sugar intake is the best way to balance your blood sugar. But swimming can help! Study found that high intensity swimming three times a week increased insulin sensitivity and balanced blood glucose. This can reduce your risk of diabetes. And if you have diabetes, swimming can help keep your blood sugar in check. Using HIIT intervals for a total of 30 minutes was found to be more effective than swimming at low intensity for an hour.

6. Reduce Stress

If you’re a human being, you’re probably stressed on the reg. Lucky for you, swimming reduces stress. A survey commissioned by Speedo found that 74 percent of participants had reduced stress after swimming. And 70 percent said swimming left them mentally refreshed. Keep in mind that any form of exercise can help reduce stress. But water-based activities are known to have additional soothing effects. It’s just hard to be stressed out when you’re floating in water.

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