Mental Health

The Power of Water: 3 Ways Aquatic Exercise Benefits Your Physical and Mental Health

aquatic exercise Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Guest Post by Beth Rush

The physical and mental benefits of swimming and aquatic exercises are unmatched. The benefits of swimming include but aren’t limited to building endurance, alleviating stress and good heart health. Working out in the water is much easier on your joints than regular exercise. Being in contact with water, especially performing some kind of physical exercise can be great for mental health, too.

Benefits of Aquatic Exercise

1. Water Therapy

aquatic exercise

Bodies of water like lakes and rivers are beautiful to look at and present a calming effect with their blue and green hues. Pools have a similar effect without the added benefits of nature. Pools are safer for younger children and older adults since there are parameters for depth and are sometimes equipped with a lifeguard on duty. Older adults experience the physical benefits of swimming because aquatic exercises help maintain bone health and decrease disability.

Water is good for your mental health whether you’re swimming or just wading in. The color blue is associated with healing and calmness. It can provoke a sense of relaxation within you just from looking at it. The water helps to alleviate stress and can do wonders for your state of mind.

Swimming has been known to decrease depression and improve your mood. Being active in general has multiple benefits for your health. It can increase your confidence and self-esteem while simultaneously getting your adrenaline and blood pumping. With more active hours in the day, you are more likely to get better sleep at night.

When used as a recreational activity, water activities can increase family connections and bond those who may be feeling alone. So, water is a great way to bring people together and build existing relationships or start new ones by meeting new people at the lake or pool.

2. Heart Health

aquatic exercise

People who exercise on a regular basis are at less of a risk for heart problems. There are so many benefits of swimming pertaining to your heart. Swimming is such great exercise for your cardiovascular muscles, which are the most important muscles we have. In the US, males and females over the age of 65 are at the highest risk for heart disease. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death in this age range.

Risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, not exercising, becoming overweight and high-stress levels, and exercising combats all of the risks. Working out in the water with older adults is more accessible and can be fun. Simply walking in water and immersing yourself in it can be beneficial to your heart.

There are aerobic classes offered at local pools and some hospitals. These classes could be a great way to get out and be social. Studies have shown that women are significantly more at risk for heart disease when feeling alone or isolated.

3. Muscle Memory

aquatic exercise

Weekly aerobic physical activity can reduce your risk of getting sick. Swimming and aquatic exercises are much easier on the joints and muscles than exercising on land. Increased efforts on your joints can lead to muscle pain. Exercising in warm water is called hydrotherapy and is effectively used to treat arthritis.

Water is a fantastic tool for increasing flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. Since water is seldomly still, you must move and flow with the waves. In a pool, water resistance can range from four to forty-two times more than air, so you must constantly use your muscles.

Exercising in water increases your agility and builds your muscle strength. Water’s natural resistance allows your body to sift through the water rather than fight against the current. This intense push and pull of water against your body naturally increases your range of motion and makes you more flexible.

Water’s buoyancy lessens the impact of muscle strain that exercising on land places on our bodies. This helps to have longer workout sessions that can aim to reap more physical benefits of swimming.

Get Out There and Do Some Aquatic Exercise

Joining an aerobics class is an excellent way to gain support and accountability. Water aerobics can increase the oxygen flow throughout your body and is pain-free. It’s also a foolproof way to make some new friends.

What are you waiting for? Join a fitness class or plan a day at your local pool. If you live near a lake or river, have some fun swimming or wading in them!

Wear sunscreen and protect your eyes with shades if you plan to be outdoors. Soaking up the sun is excellent for your overall health as long as you stay protected from harsh rays and heat! Pack a water bottle and get out there and have some fun!

Benefits For All Ages

Aquatic exercise provides so many physical and mental benefits for your overall health. The benefits of swimming are not limited to any age group. People of all ages can enjoy and reap the benefits of aquagym, walking in the water, playing, or just swimming.

National Library of Medicine: Effects of aquatic exercise on mental health

Bond University: Aquatic exercise and mental health, PDF

American College of Sports Medicine: Aquatic Exercise for Health

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