Nothing says “Florida” quite like a sunny day and a cool, blue pool. This summertime staple can be used year-round here, and is the basis of parties, barbecues and get-togethers—but your pool is good for more than fun and games! It can also be a huge help to your health. Read on to find out how.
The every-man’s workout
Not everyone has the ability to get to the gym, hop on a treadmill and start a workout. Whether it be due to weight or joint problems like arthritis, some of us need a lower-impact routine—and that’s where your pool comes in. For arthritis sufferers, for example, the heat of the pool and the water itself can offer stiff joints major relief. You don’t need to be a marathon runner to be able to reap the benefits of a backyard pool.
All about aerobics
We all know exercise is about more than keeping up aesthetics, and that’s especially true for the heart! Swimming strengthens the heart and improves circulation, and can even be a huge factor in preventing heart-related disease; according to the American Heart Association, for example, 30 minutes of exercise a day (like swimming!) can reduce the chance of coronary heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent. The Annals of Internal Medicine also suggests that regular aerobic exercise may be able to lower blood pressure.
When you’re swimming, your body is able to move in a wide range of motion that will help your joints and ligaments stay flexible. Unlike gym equipment that usually focuses on one part of the body at a time, a pool workout improves movement in your whole body.
Backyard weight loss
You might not feel the heat in the pool, but you’re still burning calories—pretty impressive amounts, depending on the length and intensity of your workout. Active.com reports that a 155 pound person will burn 704 calories swimming freestyle at a fast pace; 493 at a slower one. While the calories burned vary depending on your weight, there’s no question that swimming can be one of the most effective (and fun!) ways to shed some pounds.
Feeling down or under pressure? Dive in! Swimming lets you release endorphins, which make you feel good and at ease. The quiet nature of solo swimming, in which you hear the sounds of your own breathing mixed with gentle splashing water, can also be quite relaxing. According to Therese J. Borchard from PsychCentral.com, swimming can even promote hippocampal neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells to replace ones that atrophy under constant stress.