Fitness

Outdoors

Just Keep Swimming—For Fun and Good Health

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It’s that time of year again: pools are open, and the summer sun is warming up the water, tempting you to dive in. Although you may feel like sitting in a chair by the pool—a great option for relaxation—you might also want to think about taking the plunge. The reasons: swimming is great exercise, relieves stress, and can even help you live a longer, healthier life.

Exercising in the pool

Swimming is one of the best full-body workouts out there, especially when you include a few trips to the pool into your weekly schedule. It’s a high calorie-burning exercise, which can contribute to weight loss and a healthier physique. As a bonus, the water provides a natural source of resistance, but it is also low impact and easy on your joints. That makes it a great exercise for all fitness levels, including everyone from high-endurance athletes to your grandmother who suffers from arthritis. People who are healing from injuries or suffer from degenerative diseases (such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease) can also benefit from taking a few laps around the pool or enjoying a water aerobics class.

Swimming in a pool, a lake, or the ocean provides similar benefits—so pick your pleasure! The intense cardiovascular nature of this exercise contributes to better lung and heart function. People who suffer from asthma may also find some benefit from swimming, as it can increase lung capacity and improve breath control. And kids benefit from swimming because, ideally, they should get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day—and most kids love the water. 

Swimming can also help relieve anxiety, too. Cardiovascular exercise helps with stress, in general, but studies show that swimming’s benefits can be even more significant in reducing anger, tension, anxiety, and depression. Being outdoors can increase this effect even more because fresh air and vitamin D support mental health (along with sleep). Just make sure to use sunscreen frequently when swimming outside.

Public pools, close to home 

If you’re ready to head to the pool this year, look no further than your own backyard. For a summer dip in Hancock County, head over to Riley Pool in Greenfield. Sahm Park’s aquatic center in Indianapolis is another nearby option, and that pool has both slides and a gradual slope for young swimmers who are learning to get in and out of a pool. Waggener Community Pool in Rushville or Baker Park pool in New Castle will also be open this summer. 

And as you dive in this summer, remember that you’re not just heading out for a day of fun in the sun. You’re doing something great for your health too. 

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