By Anita Manley
I just returned from the pool!
Since May, with the exception of vacation time, I’ve been swimming three days a week. I’m a life-long swimmer. I learned how to swim at a very young age, and later I progressed through all the necessary Red Cross levels to become a Lifeguard/Instructor. I have swam on swim teams, swam lengths alone and gone for periods of time when I was not swimming at all, with the exception of an occasional dip in a friend’s pool or a lake. (COVID was especially difficult as, like many others, I could not swim at all during that long, very stressful period).
I know this for sure… I am happiest when I am swimming regularly. I can cope with the stresses of life much more effectively and the regular cardio exercise just brings an authentic smile to my face. Not to mention, my doctor always sees improved results with my bloodwork when I am swimming.
I do prefer swimming on a swim team with a coach and other teammates. The rules and lane etiquette that come with this atmosphere are what I appreciate the most. Everyone knows what they are doing and where they should be swimming. If not, the coach helps with this. The odd time while swimming at the club that I belong to now, the average swimmer just doesn’t know about lane etiquette, and it can send me into a frazzled state. “Can’t they see that I’m swimming in this lane!” I think to myself. “There is room over there, why don’t they just stay in their lane! UGH!” But, without a coach and also without extensive swimming experience, some people just are not aware of the rules. I need to simmer down, be patient, and just move into another lane.
Thanks for letting me vent!
Back to the benefits of swimming and the inspiration for this post. I was reading some information on social media about swimming and came across this TED post on Instagram:
3 reasons swimming is good for your brain:
from neurobiologist Seena Matthew PhD
“It’s no secret that aerobic exercise is important to your overall health– but when it comes to your brain, swimming can make an extra splash. Let’s dive into the benefits!”
- Swimming can boost your memory.
Studies have shown that swimming (even 20 minutes a day!) can improve attention span, short-and long-term memory– and even reduce the cognitive impacts of aging.
- Swimming can boost your mood.
Because swimming is a full-body workout, it increases blood flow which releases feel-good hormones like endorphins.
It also promotes the release of neurotransmitters– like serotonin– which can help reduce depression and anxiety.
- Swimming can boost your ability to learn.
Aerobic exercise improves cell growth and builds new pathways in your brain. This can help you learn and store new information and recall it with higher accuracy.
So, not only is swimming helping me with overall physical health, it is also helping to improve my mental health. I hope to be able to keep up this routine well into my eighties, or even longer!
What do you do to stay healthy? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!