• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

Just keep swimming

During the summer, we tend to spend a lot more time around water. Spending time in water can look different depending on if you go to a pool, ocean, lake or river. However, we tend to forget about how beneficial swimming can be for our health. The good news, swimming is an enjoyable activity that can be done at any age and any fitness level. As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit, stay healthy and make friends. It is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits. If that alone does not convince you to get in the pool, here are five other reasons why you should:

Chronic disease prevention

• Swimming is a great workout because you move your whole body against the resistance of the water. Nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming. Which helps tone muscles, maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart.

• Overall, swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular health.

Boosts mental health

• Water-based exercise improves mental health. Swimming can improve the mood in both men and women because of decreased anxiety and depression.

• Swimming also serves as a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise.

Low impact exercise

• For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. Water-based exercise also improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.

• Swimming is a great form of exercise for people with certain injuries or conditions.

Make friends

• Swimming is a great way to keep fit and make friends.

• If you wish, you can make swimming social by joining a team or a water exercise class

Do it for life

• No matter what age - kids, adults and seniors can all get benefits out of swimming. Before swimming:

• Make sure you know how to swim and have a safe place to swim.

• See your doctor if you have not exercised recently or concerned about exercise restrictions.

• Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before entering the water.

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