Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease.
Many people report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. It’s fun, relaxing, and doesn’t stress the joints while moving. So exercise is enjoyed longer in water than on land.
Water-based Exercise and Chronic Illness
Water-based exercise has been found to be helpful to people with chronic diseases. For people with arthritis, for example, it improves the use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. Water-based exercises like water aerobics or lap swimming also improve the use of affected joints and decrease pain from osteoarthritis.
Water-based Exercise and Mental Health
Swimming can improve mood in both men and women because exercise releases dopamine, a natural chemical that causes happiness. For people with fibromyalgia, gentle water aerobics can decrease anxiety and depression. Exercise therapy in warm water is especially helpful. Water-based exercise is also a great alternative for expectant mothers and their unborn children. The relaxing element of water offers a positive effect on the mothers’ mental health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming enhance family connections and improve relationships.
Water-based Exercise and Older Adults
Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving their quality of life and decreasing disability. It also improves or maintains the bone health of post-menopausal women by keeping joints moving and lubricating.
Exercising in water offers many physical and mental health benefits and is a good choice for people who want to be more active. When in the water, remember to protect yourself and others from illness and injury by practicing healthy and safe swimming behaviors.
Swimming every day at home
When you’ve got a swimming pool at home, you’re much more likely to exercise on a regular basis. And when your swimming pool is covered, you will be able to exercise year-round.
At Oasis Pool Enclosures, we want you to get the most from your in-ground swimming pool including the benefit of daily exercise in a warm, supportive environment. Contact us today to find out about enclosing your swimming pool for year-round access.
Sources for this article include:
1. US Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012. Arts, Recreation, and Travel: Participation in Selected Sports Activities 2009 [PDF – 2 pages]
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Be active, healthy, and happy! In Chapter 2: Physical Activity Has Many Health Benefits. Last verified on December 23, 2009.
3. Westby MD. 2001. A health professional’s guide to exercise prescription for people with arthritis: a review of aerobic fitness activities. Arthritis Care and Res. 45(6):501-11.
4. Bartels EM, Lund H, Hagen KB, Dagfinrud H, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B. 2007. Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 4:1-9
5. Tomas-Carus P, Gusi N, Hakkinen A, Hakkinen K, Leal A, and Ortega-Alonso A. 2008. Eight months of physical training in warm water improves physical and mental health in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 40(4):248-52.
6. Hartmann S and Bung P. 1999. Physical exercise during pregnancy—physiological considerations and recommendations. J Perinat Med. 27(3):204-15.
7. Sato D, Kaneda K, Wakabayashi H, and Nomura T. 2007. The water exercise improves health-related quality of life of frail elderly people at day service facility. Qual Life Res. 16:1577-85.