Thought I’d throw a curve ball in on the blog for this week! I thought I would focus on the physical and mental health benefits of swimming, especially open water swimming as it’s what I love!
It is well documented that swimming has huge physiological benefits on the body – from being a weightless exercise, swimming has very low impact on the joints. Swimming can also help build muscle all over the body as all of the muscles are being used, the main one being the heart! It can increase your cardiovascular fitness dramatically, I’ve worked with people in the past when they’ve come to swimming from another background in sport and after a short space of time (6 weeks onwards) have felt huge benefits in their ‘main’ sport and wanted to continue their development through swimming.
Without sounding like a broken record, I completely appreciate that all of you swimmers out there are well aware of the physical and mental benefits that our amazing sport brings and I just want other people to realise how fantastic it can be!
From a mental health point of view I’ve been reading recently that open water swimming (along with other exercise) can release dopamine and serotonin which can aid with improving your mood and thought process. I honestly believe that open water swimming allows you to feel ‘at one’ with nature, a friend of mine once asked “why on earth do you do that, I bet it’s freezing and awful” to which all I could reply was “I can’t describe how good it is, other than it’s amazing!”, this friend then took the chance to try swimming and was a little dubious to begin with but then, in the middle of the lake in the glorious sunshine he turned to me and said “You’re right, you can’t describe this feeling, can you!” since then he has been trying to explain to people and trying to get them to ‘triopenwater’ but they’re reluctant!
From a personal perspective, I absolutely love swimming! At 32 years young I still get excited to get to the pool or open water and get in, ever since I started competing at 12 years old, I still get that buzz of being in the water constantly trying to better myself! I have suffered with anxiety in the past and have used swimming as my medication as I love nothing more than being in the natural environment and exploring around open water venues. Open water swimming allows me to switch off from the world, focus on the here and now and concentrate on what’s important – especially when the water temperatures start falling in the Autumn!
I’m now a big advocate in promoting positive mental health – I was always told “it’s ok not to be ok” and I’m a big supporter of that and it’s helped me through some really tough times!
How does swimming help you?
Take time to sit and think what sort of an impact it has on you, when you get that moment, hold on to it!
Have a good week!