The benefits of pool time

By Mina Radman • Published: July 25th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Nothing feels as good on a sweltering summer day as taking a nice dip in the pool. But did you know that spending time in the pool can greatly improve your health, too? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming is the fourth most popular physical activity in the country and one of the best cardiovascular exercises.

What’s so great about swimming? Two and a half hours spent in the pool each week can decrease your risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as arthritis. Swimming is a total body workout, providing both resistance training and cardio as you push against the water. In fact, an hour spent swimming can burn more than 500 calories because you have more control over your breathing, which increases your demand for oxygen and makes your muscles work harder. Also, swimming is a great way to recover from an injury or relax your joints because it doesn’t place as much pressure on your joints as exercising on land does.

But becoming more physically fit isn’t the only benefit. Swimming is good for mental health, too. The CDC reports that swimming decreases depression and releases endorphins, which can help increase your overall mood. You’ll feel relaxed while you’re in the water. And if you swim in an outdoor pool, the sunlight can help decrease your stress levels.

But the best part about swimming is that there’s no such thing as the right swimming workout because there’s so many different variations. Just jump in the pool and see what feels most comfortable for you. Doggy paddle or breast stroke … you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer to enjoy the health benefits of swimming. At the very least, you’ll have fun … and stay cool in the summer heat.