5 Health Benefits of Swimming

When we look at Michael Phelps or Missy Franklin, we see a pair of gold-winning superstars that have taken the Olympic community by storm, but it probably never occurs to us that we’re looking at arguably two of the healthiest people competing today. One of the most important things we can do is go for a swim. Here are five mega-health benefits from swimming.

5) Burns Calories – As one of the highest calorie-burning exercises of all time, swimming can lower one’s risk of obesity. Unlike gym machines or free-weights, which typically isolate one part of the body at a time, swimming involves several muscles at once, increasing motion and activity all around. The butterfly stroke, for example, can burn up to 150 calories in just ten minutes alone!

4) Relieves Stress – A couple of laps around the pool is all you need to reduce the day’s stress and aggravation. Swimming relaxes and enhances energy levels by releasing endorphins into your system. It regulates breathing and muscle activity, and can even replace brain cells lost through stress.

3) Increases Muscle Mass – A recent study shows that pool exercises can increase your triceps by up to 23 percent. Swimming also builds strength, and can give you that lean, toned look you’ve probably always wanted (just look at Ryan Lochte).

2) Improves Heart Function – Swimming is a perfect aerobic exercise. It combats inflammation, which can lead to several problems like heart disease. It also increases blood flow and reduces blood pressure, and can even make the heart larger over time.

1) Increases Lifespan – Studies show that people who swim have a significantly lower death rate than those who just walk, run, or get no exercise at all.