08th August 2018 | Blog
Swimming: Why you should take the plunge
As part of our #OpportunityOfaLunchTime campaign this August, reclaiming your lunchtime to do something fun or active, we here at T Plus are all for encouraging office workers to get their arm bands on, woggles and goggles at the ready to take the plunge and start swimming. Not only is this a great way to let off some steam and even ‘accidentally’ splash that pesky Susan from Accounts, swimming has many proven mental and physical wellbeing benefits- we thought we’d outline a few to tempt you to take those trunks out of retirement.
Physical Health benefits
Swimming is a form of aerobic exercise that is very beneficial to multiple areas of your body. Just doing the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce your mortality risk by over 30%- so no excuses please! The nature of swimming in water also offers unique opportunities. The buoyancy of water reduces the stress of weight on your body, and the cool water reduces risk of overheating- so a pool can be the perfect place for exercise, especially for pregnant women and those with joint pain. Here’s a break down of all the benefits a swim can give you…
Firstly, any aerobic exercise is great training for your heart and can make it stronger and healthier in your daily life. Swimming is particularly special because the hydrostatic pressure of the water shifts blood towards your heart. This results in reduced ‘systemic vascular resistance’ (bit sciencey), in other words, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body (yay!). This continues for some time after you leave the water, so your heart will be happy as Larry for hours after. This increase in the ability of your body to pump blood back to your heart also helps improve circulation and reduces risk of varicose veins, what’s not to love?
Swimming, and the pressure of water on your chest, is excellent training for your respiratory muscles. This means that your lungs will become stronger and perform better for longer, so no more getting out of puff climbing the stairs!
Believe it or not, you use a ridiculous number of muscle groups when you swim. This makes it a great all-round exercise, so you can happily strengthen your whole body. Swimming also increases blood flow to the muscles by 225%, great training for your circulatory system!
As mentioned before, the buoyancy of the water can hugely reduce pressure on your joints, by up to 75%! This makes it a great way to exercise if you struggle with joint pain during land-based exercise.
Exercise increases bone mineral density, making them strong and healthy. This lowers the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that affects 30% of women.
As swimming is an aerobic exercise, it reduces the amount of ‘visceral adipose tissue’, simply meaning fat located around your internal organs. This form of fat is very dangerous when built up, so any activity that reduces fat in these areas is essential.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Submersion in water has been shown to result in suppression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This basically means that your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is lowered, so dive right in!
Mental Health benefits:
Swimming has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, from helping with anxiety and depression, to combatting loneliness. Being part of a swimming group is also a great way to meet new people and stay motivated- so don’t be shy!
Swimming in pregnancy:
Swimming is currently one of the most popular exercise activities among pregnant women. This isn’t surprising as being in a pool reduces the risk of over-heating and the central blood volume expansion has positive effects on mother and baby. So, rest assured that swimming is a safe way to improve cardio-respiratory fitness. Although if you do have any pregnancy complications, do have a chat with your GP about the best exercise for you.
Reading this you may feel excited to plunge straight into your new swimming regime, but two weeks down the line, how can you stay motivated? Here’s a few ideas:
- Get a monthly or annual pass if you struggle with commitment- the thought of making the most of your money will motivate you!
- Plan it into your day. Maybe before or after work. We like the idea of using it as your #OpportunityOfaLunchTime.
- Instead of meeting a friend for a drink, make them your new swimming buddy.
- Have a go at water-based fun like Aquafit.
Starting any new exercise can be daunting, but just remember that just doing more than you already are is a big achievement… and don’t worry about looking silly, everyone looks silly in goggles and swimming hats so you’ll fit right it!
Finding a Swimming Pool Near You:
Use the handy NHS search tool to find your local pool or exercise classes. From there just search the timetable and pick your time to shine! Find the search tool at: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/Sports-and-Fitness/LocationSearch/1795