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The Joy of Swimming: How Getting in the Water Improves Physical and Mental Health

(CNN)As summer approaches and temperatures slowly rise, more and more people are looking for water. will go to It offers many benefits to the body and mind.

I don't like running. Swimming is not only a good alternative, it may be a more efficient method.
According to Swim England,
By using all the muscles, swimming ensures a full-body exercise, so 30 minutes of exercise in water is recommended. corresponds to 45 minutes on land.Swim England.

Just an hour of leisurely swimming can burn her over 400 calories. That's more than double her amount of walking.

In contrast to running, the relatively low impact of water activity makes it a perfect outlet for those with minor injuries and the elderly.

Swimming has both short-term and lasting benefits.

A report by the Swim England Swimming and Health Commission found that ordinary swimmers had a 28% lower risk of early death and a 41% lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. low. 2017.

Calm Sea

It is widely known that swimming has a positive effect on the body, but the mental health effects of being in water are not well known. The benefits are not well known. Impactful.

According to Swim England

, nearly 500,000 Britons with a mental health diagnosis in 2019 said swimming helped health professionals He said he was seeing a doctor less often. Open water swimming, in particular, is increasingly recognized for its mental health benefits, especially due to the naturally cooler temperatures.

For those who brave the cold, immersion in cold water releases the feel-good hormone dopamine and endorphins that persist for hours after the body has dried off.

A study on the anti-inflammatory properties of cold water by the University of Portsmouth, UK,provides increasing anecdotal evidence that it can attenuate the inflammatory response that causes anxiety and depression.

Just being in a so-called "blue environment," close to the ocean or bodies of water, is known to reduce stress responses.

Last summer on CNN }, frontline worker Dr. Mark Lieber pondered the transformative impact of a slight dip in the pool that helped ease the burden of the previous year, both literally and figuratively.

"My first thought when I went under the water was that I felt a little more buoyant than usual, probably because I had gained weight from quarantine," Lieber said.

"But as I continued to glide through the water, my initial concerns about weight gain were replaced by a feeling of catharsis, just as the water had accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic."

``One stroke after another.

"The Moment of Epiphany"

Rachel Ash, Founder of Mental Health Swims, says open water swimming has positive effects on the mind. It is a living proof of giving.

UK-based Mental Health Swims is a volunteer-led peer support community,

Ash first started running after receiving a mental health diagnosis in 2018.

By the end of the year, she felt "really sick" and "everything was difficult," but on New Year's Day Literally, Ash is d. into a new future.

Having braved the "Looney Duke," an annual event in which brave participants venture out into the freezing waters near Edinburgh, Scotland, Ash returns to the beach shivering, but she has changed. was

"She was very hard and didn't enjoy it," Ash told CNN Sport. That long time was a real epiphany moment for me. ''

Six months later, 30 people showed up to Ash to compete in a swim meet. Since then, the group's growth has increased exponentially even during the pandemic.

This year, Mental Health Swims will host over 80 swim meets from Cornwall in the South West of England to Loch Lomond in Scotland. peer support.

There are many reasons for participation. Some seek a sense of community, others seek mindfulness or that rush of endorphins after a swim.

Ashe loves water as a safe haven from the gym's more intimidating environment. This passion has given new life to her mental health.

"I've learned that my differences are strengths, not shames," Ash said. "I never thought I'd be able to do what I'm doing today.

"I've always been mentally ill, but I've been much better at taking care of myself these days. I'm still big. I have feelings, but with medication, therapy, outdoor swimming, and healthy, happy relationships, I'm doing really well.

Waters, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis while in college, has lived with the symptoms of a chronic illness.

Positive The aggressive treatment and medication proved to be debilitating, and after returning from traveling and working in Australia, a lump on her neck turned out to be skin cancer.

Cancer The physical and mental toll of the surgery to remove the larvae and changes in treatment were exacerbated by the need for defense during the pandemic, but Waters' fortunes, after a little push from his mother, turned him into a sea bather.

"She started and kept going. Say, 'You gotta come, it really helps with mental health,'" Waters told CNN.


``When I go outside, I feel a little panicked, as if I just woke up.

And so began a persistent effort to swim two or three times a week, even during the winter months. Waters was sometimes the only way out of the house due to the need for shielding.

According to the Waters-contributed charity Versus Arthritis, swimming is beneficial to people with arthritis because it relieves muscle stiffness and increases joint flexibility. produce a physical effect.

For Waters, these physical boosts equate to mental health benefits.

``You always feel scared. 'Can you do it? For mental health, it definitely does something.

''With all medications, you can often feel very tired--when you have time off, you feel very tired. Because you feel like you don't have the energy to do it - but once you've rested, you've done it, it rejuvenates you.

"When you start to improve your symptoms of anxiety and depression, you can also get physical benefits."

After swimming for the first time in over a year, Dr. I was looking forward to the start of his 4 night stretch working in the treatment room.

"I am usually scared at the beginning of these night shifts," he said. "But somehow the task seemed more manageable than usual.

"Whatever happens tonight, it will happen. Whatever happens, there will always be tomorrow."