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9 benefits of swimming you need to know

Stuck in a workout rut? Take a dip to boost both physical and mental health.

Story by Sandy Young  +  Photos by Mary Beth Lyons

Do you want a more active lifestyle but want to skip the gym? Swimming might be the best exercise for you. This activity is not only fun for any age, but it also offers countless benefits. You can enjoy swimming alone or with friends or family. Here are some amazing swimming benefits worth considering.


Join the club • Hilton Head Aquatics is a non-profit local competitive swimming club founded in 1984. Email questions or inquiries to head coach Michael Lane at [email protected]

Weight loss

If you want to burn calories fast, go swimming. An hour of swimming can burn as much as 931 calories; that’s dramatically more than what you burn while walking. So next time you feel guilty for eating a whole chocolate bar, head to the pool or the ocean.

Maintain your muscle

Just like other aerobic exercises, swimming can help you build and maintain strong muscles. It is great for older people because it protects them from falling and breaking bones while exercising.

Good for people with injuries or disabilities

People with disabilities and injuries are sometimes restricted to activities that are not high impact. Since water provides resistance and can support muscles gently, swimming is one of the best options for those who want to skip high-resistance exercise. It can also help develop social skills, motor functions, and confidence for people who have anxiety.

Take a dip • An hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without all the impact on your bones and joints. Swimming may even help reduce pain or improve recovery from an injury.

Helps improve sleep quality

If you are suffering from insomnia, try swimming. This full-body aerobic exercise is exhausting for your body. It also gets your brain worked up consistently. Through this, you can sleep better.

Slows down aging

Although swimming can’t help you travel back in time, it can help you look so much younger by lifting your mood and lowering your stress. Through this, your body functions improve. If you swim in the ocean, you may also notice your skin improving. This is because salt water helps your skin retain moisture. Ocean water can detoxify your skin and make room for faster cell growth. Through this, your skin will become smoother and healthier.

Suitable for everyone

Whatever your age and fitness level, you can try swimming. This activity is perfect if you want to exercise and learn at your own pace. Swimming is also an important skill which could potentially save your life.

Full body workout

When you are swimming, your arms, legs, and other underworked muscles get targeted. Swimming also helps muscle tone and definition because it gets big muscle groups moving. Swimming can also do wonders for your flexibility because it requires you to repetitively twist, stretch, and reach as you push yourself through the water.

Open Swim • Get unlimited access to open lap swim for $20 per week or $5 per day at the Island Rec Center. Learn more at islandreccenter.org.

Reduces inflammation

Heart disease is common, especially for people who live a sedentary lifestyle. Not only does swimming protect you from cardiovascular diseases, but it also improves your heart condition. Additionally, swimming helps reduce inflammation that can lead to atherosclerosis.

Lowers depression and stress

It turns out, runner’s high is not the only kind of endorphin kick you can experience. Swimming also helps you feel good by releasing happy hormones. This activity also makes you more relaxed because you stretch your body and rhythmically breathe. Many swimmers also consider the activity as a form of meditation to help them get rid of distractions.

Swim to your heart’s content

When you are swimming, you get worked up, and pressure is evenly distributed in your hips, arms, and other body parts. Considering all the benefits listed above, swimming is the perfect aerobic workout to get your blood flowing. If you want to try an activity that will improve your well-being, dive in.


Open Swim Get unlimited access to open lap swim for $20 per week or $5 per day at the Island Rec Center. Learn more at islandreccenter.org.