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.

Unusual Mental Disorders Diagnosed in Humans

It may be surprising to learn that the human brain possesses the potential to act completely off balance and bizarre, as well as possibly having an intelligent and creative manner. Some of these unusual occurrences can go to such an extent that those who display such behavior are termed as having a mental disorder. Here is a list of some completely unexplainable mental disorders which are found to affect some people:

Stendhal Syndrome

Though the human mind likes the idea of something being aesthetically appealing, some people fall victim to a psychosomatic disorder when exposed to something extremely beautiful or appealing. As they see the object in reality or by seeing it in the form of a picture, physical symptoms of likeability may also appear. Some common signs include the heart beating rapidly, feeling dizzy, being in a confused state of mind, or even having hallucinations. Quite commonly, people who travel a lot experience this syndrome when they come across something that instantly appeals to them and sweeps them off their feet with its beauty.

Stockholm Syndrome

In normal circumstances, nobody would have any feelings of attraction or affection for a person who harms them in one way or another. But in case of people who are kidnapped, some often develop a feeling of sympathy, affection, and even loyalty to their abductor. Consequently, they don’t resist the harm done to them; rather, they try to understand why the person, in this case the abductor, is doing it. A lot of people develop similar feelings for their partner in an abusive relationship, even in the event of rape and child abuse.

Lima Syndrome

Lima Syndrome is the opposite of Stockholm syndrome where the abductor develops affectionate feelings towards the victim.


Though Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be quite damaging in any form, this one is weird due to its association with a constructive activity. A person suffering from bibliomania has the urge to collect books to the point that it has the negative and hurtful impact on their relationship and personal well-being. This also includes buying the same book in its various versions, numerous copies of the similar title, and so on.


Though sexual relationships might have been considered to be something acceptable centuries back, feeling such desires for children is deemed as a mental disorder in the current world. As a matter of fact, such behavior is subject to punishment under modern laws and is looked down upon by almost all societies and civilizations.

Humans are quite complex creatures; that’s for sure! There are numerous disorders and mental health conditions that simply don’t make sense to a person who is used to living a normal and morally and culturally acceptable lifestyle. Some disorders are even bizarre to the point of making others feel disgusted. Nevertheless, this calls for mental health to be given even more attention than we generally do.


Three Reasons We Need to Give Importance to Psychological Counseling

We live in an era where not one or two but numerous things need our constant and exclusive attention. As a result of having such a demanding life, it is nothing but natural to get overwhelmed at times. In such situations, one of the best supports our healthcare system has to offer is in psychological counseling. There is a certain stigma attached to mental health, but here are 5 reasons to overcome it by seeking psychological counseling if and when you need it:

A Non-Judgmental Outlet

For many people who have bottled up a lot of negativity, hurt, and pain for a long time, psychological counseling can be a healthy option to vent out and express themselves. With the help of a professional, you will not feel that you are being judged. On the contrary, one of the most essential features of good psychological counseling is to give the client a space to express themselves without judging them for anything they bring forth. People avoid opening up to friends and family out of the fear of being seen as a problematic or abnormal person. With a professional, this fear goes away, or is minimized.

A Constructive Way to Deal with Problems

With the help of a professional psychologist, you can channel your energy in a positive way. Instead of doing something harmful, you can learn to use your own feelings and emotions to build something positive. For instance, a person having anger issues reacts very violently under the influence of his emotions. But with the right therapy and practice, the patient can find another way, like color ball fight which is a group activity conducted to let go of the intense emotions, to get better.

A Positive Perspective

With psychological counseling, you learn to see things from a positive perspective. Counseling is not just a chance to sit and talk; your whole mindset can be changed and refreshed by doing so. Instead of seeing the person as a problem, counseling focuses on seeing the problem as the object of attention. The association is made with the problem instead of putting a label on the doer of the action. As a result, one can come to find a reasonable and helpful solution instead of getting embroiled in a blame game. Someone dealing with mental disturbance does not need the additional burden of being labeled based on what they did. So, with counseling, people learn a healthy way to look at their problems and to cope with them.

As times are changing, people are speaking out and supporting the importance of psychological help. This is a healthy and crucial step given that mental health has enjoyed a stigmatized status for centuries now. A positive change is much needed and most welcomed. If you are going through something similar, don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself or someone around you who needs help.

Psychological Care of Aging People

Taking Care of the ElderlyWith aging, elderly people require a lot more attention and care. One of the most important areas of care is their psychological well being. It is not uncommon for senior citizens to be depressed, having mood disorders, feeling lonely or having other psychological problems. Additionally, they may be suffering from dementia. All these issues adversely affect their physical health. The whole process of mental and physical health deterioration ruins their healthy aging cycle, leaving them sad and unhappy. Things can me made much better for aging people by proper and attentive psychological care. Here is how we can go about it:

Understanding the Process of Aging

The process of aging is not easy. From complete independence, the person loses a lot of personal dependence and strength, and becomes reliant on others; sometimes even the most basic needs. The body does not work as fast as it used to, the senses depreciate, and the brain becomes weak. It is very difficult for the elderly to come to terms with all these changes, during which many are exposed to psychological issues. The ones taking care of aging people need to understand the process of aging. This will help them to look at their concerns and behavior from a much better and understandable perspective.

Be Considerate

The challenges that aging brings forth require a lot of patience from the care taker’s side. While taking care of an elderly, be considerate of their needs and the changes that they are going through. They would be going through decline in their sensory abilities, so keep that in mind while communicating with them and attending to them. Speak a bit louder, but politely. Hand them things carefully. Help them with eating, drinking and dressing if they need assistance with that.

Do Not Imply Yourself

They have lived a life on their own, and having to be told what to do may not be taken so well in aging. Leave some authoritative space for the elderly to make choices and decisions. Let them feel that they are still in power, they can decide. This will help them retain dignity and self respect and take aging process positively. Do not try to impose your decisions on them; instead ask them in a manner that they automatically make the right call.

Make Them Feel Included

The main reason why people are prone to psychological problems like depression, mood disorders, hallucinations, etc., is because they don’t feel included in their social surroundings. They are often ignored in conversations even if they were present in the same room. This leads to a lot of self doubt and speculation. They feel lonely and unwanted. So make them feel a part of family. Include them in conversations and seek their opinion just like you normally would ask any other person. Don’t discredit their input.

Aging is a challenging course. But with help from caretakers, it can be made easy for the people who are going through the process. It only requires consideration and empathy.

Psychotherapy May Be Effective In Easing IBD Symptoms

According to the New York Times blog, ‘Well’, a review published online December 22, 2015 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology ‘Short- and Long- Term Efficacy of Psychological Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis’ suggests that psychotherapy may be “effective in easing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome…even after therapy has ended.”

Irritable bowel syndrome can cause diarrhea, cramping, fever and sometimes rectal bleeding and Crohn’s Disease is part of this. The chronic ailment affects up to 11 percent of the population, and there is no cure or completely effective treatment.

After examining “data from 41 clinical trials that included 1,183 people assigned to psychotherapy and 1,107 controls,” investigators found that one year “after the end of treatment, 75 percent of the treatment group had greater symptom relief than the average member of the control group, although the benefits were modest.”

“I.B.S. is notoriously difficult to treat,” said the lead author, Kelsey T. Laird, a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University, “so the fact that these effects are just as strong six to 12 months later is very exciting — a significant effect, which did not decrease over time.”

Whether a given individual will benefit from psychotherapy is still unknown, Ms. Laird said. But, she added, “We do know that this seems to be one of the best treatments out there. So I would recommend it.”

Supporting Ms. Laird’s recommendation, the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology report  said “Psychological therapies reduce GI symptoms in adults with IBS. These effects remained significant and medium in magnitude after short and long-term follow-up periods.”.