By David Song, December 8 2017 —
When most people think about working out, the gym usually comes to mind first. However, swimming has been my go-to exercise since junior high and remains one of my favorite activities. Not everyone has the chance to take lessons in their youth like I did, but swimming is an excellent and often underrated way for anyone to stay fit. Here are some reasons to add swimming to your exercise routine.
Being suspended in water relieves joints of stress from the shock of contacting a hard surface like in running or dancing. Gliding through water builds strength while sparing the strain, meaning less risk of injury than in most sports but with similar results. Swimming also simultaneously works several muscle groups, unlike weight training that only targets specific areas.
A lot of people find running or jogging boring and repetitive, which crushes any motivation to do it. Group exercise is a great way to energize cardio but organizing games on a regular basis isn’t always feasible, especially with busy student schedules. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, sometimes you have to work out solo.
Swimming is an enjoyable and unique activity that many find more satisfying than running. It’s less weather-dependant than outdoor running or sports and being in water prevents that sticky post-workout feeling. Practising various strokes prevents your workout from becoming stagnant and keeps your mind engaged. Moves like the butterfly offer a nice change from the typical front crawl and are fun to master.
On many occasions, I’ve gone to the pool frustrated or anxious and found solace in just a few minutes of swimming. I leave with a clear head and feel ready to address the source of my emotions.
Extensive evidence shows that swimming can relieve depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness. Research conducted by Brooklyn College showed that just one session of swimming reduces tension and improves cognitive function. Comparable to pilates and yoga, the continuous motion of swimming is meditative and builds flexibility. It also releases endorphins and reduces cortisol levels generated by stress. All of these factors are very beneficial to chronically overwhelmed students.
Swimming is a well-rounded form of exercise with both physical and psychological benefits. If you’re tired of the gym and looking for a new workout, consider hopping into the pool. Students can use the campus pool for free during adult lane swims times. Click here to view the schedule. You can stow your belongings for a quarter or two in the Kinesiology A locker rooms.