Physical and Psychological Effects of Swimming

Man swimming in swimming pool

Health does not always mean taking medicines or vigorous exercise. It is also dependant on peace of mind and soul. Herein lays the dilemma. How can you find the balance between the physical and mental?

Swimming can be one of the physical activities that can give you peace of mind while providing physical benefits without burning yourself out. It’s not only a fun activity for kids but it is a good leisure activity for adults as well.  

A baby can start swimming as soon as he or she gains some control over their neck muscles and can continue to swim for years to come. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s never too late. You can learn at any age and continue to enjoy its benefits for as long as want.

How is Swimming Such a Powerful Exercise?

When you walk on sand or snow you notice you have to ‘push’ your feet to take the next step to move on. It is not like naturally walking against a clean floor with only air and gravity in your way, but you do not notice it. When on sand and snow, you surely do notice the additional exertion you must put out to go the same distance as you would if you were on a clean walking surface.

The additional factor that is exciting you is friction. With that said, water causes this friction too, and not just against your legs, but against your whole body! So in order to move (swim) through water, you have to ‘fight’ the friction and that is when your body exerts the necessary force to overcome it. The result – you are allowing your whole body to strengthen as you push your way through the resistance of water.

Swimming has the following benefits:

Physical Effects

As mentioned, swimming engages almost all the muscles in your body. It is a complete workout that can help you burn 200 calories in 30 minutes without tiring you out. It can have numerous effects on your physical health, some of which are discussed below.

Improved Sleep

Woman sleeping with alarm clock showing 7:00 AMAccording to statistics, around 25% of Americans develop insomnia each year and other studies show that around 50-70 million adults in the US have some form of sleep disorder. Swimming is a good exercise that helps you to relax your mind and body.

It entails controlled breathing which provides the right level of oxygen to your brain; thus swimming can help relax your muscles and improve your sleeping pattern.  

Good for Body Joints

Portrait of a muscle fitness man reaching for his knee Water provides soft resistance to your body by making it an exceptionally good exercise for people with injuries or arthritis. Water provides 12 times more resistance compared to air but it lessens the stress of gravitational pull. This is the reason why a 30-minute swimming session won’t tire you out. On the other hand, a 30-minute cardio session will not only tire you but can strain your joints and muscles.

This is the only exercise recommended to people with spine disorders like herniated discs and spinal stenosis. All other types of physical activities are stressful for people with spine issues. Swimming at least thrice a week can help such patients live a normal healthy life.

Protects Your Heart

Illustration of a heartRegular swimming can help you guard against most cardiovascular diseases. Swimming for 30 minutes at least three times a week can significantly lower your blood pressure. It can also help in controlling your cholesterol levels.

Any type of physical activity helps you burn calories also assists in reducing the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) in your blood. Exercise is particularly important in increasing good cholesterol levels.

Swimming is a high-intensity, low-impact exercise which can help you manage all types of cardiovascular diseases. It strengthens your heart muscles and is a great way to protect you from cardiac arrest.

Psychological Effects

Swimming thrice a week can significantly lower your stress levels, mood swings, and changes of anxiety and depression. Many psychological issues are related to poor sleep hygiene. One of the biggest advantages of swimming is that it helps improve sleep patterns.  

Once your body is well-rested, you will automatically be in the right state of mind to rest when the opportunity arises.

Swimming Helps in Boosting Mood

People having fun in a swimming poolWater exercises are a good way to engage with friends and the community. This great leisure-time activity can help you meet people, relax and share your thoughts. It provides a platform for social interaction. Since man is a social animal, such positive social interaction has a great effect on overall mental and physical health.  

Swimming in a community pool can also help feed your competitive spirit. If you are a Type A personality, you just don’t want to enjoy swimming. You want to excel in it. It is always good to have a healthy competition even in swimming pools. Fast-paced swimming will not just feed your competitive spirit but will have excellent effects on your cardiovascular system.

Helps Fight Depression

Solider with hands on his faceAccording to statistics, depression is one of the most common psychological disorders in the United States. It affects about 6.7% of the adult US population each year. Depression is more common in women than in men.

A good swim can affect your neurotransmitters like serotonin which influence mood and controls happiness. Swimming can also help in producing ANP, a stress-reducing hormone, which helps in controlling the brain’s response to stress and anxiety.

Managing Stress

Fun reduces stress. A well-rested body and mind are in a better position to deal with the daily stressors in life. Be it work or household, anxiety situations can be overwhelming. At work, it might be an excessive workload. At home, your kids might be sick. If you are a regular swimmer, your mind will be in a better position to tackle the daily stressors in life.

Swimming stimulates the brain to release neurochemicals that help in relaxing your body. Being in the water is fun because it gives your body a massaging sensation that relaxes all your body muscles.


Swimming is not only good for your mind and body but it is a great way to meet new people and create good memories. It’s one of those leisure activities that contain so many health benefits. Water exercises strengthen your heart muscles, toughens your musculoskeletal system, and improves your mental health. In short, it can help you live longer and happier.