Swimming is one of the most popular recreational sports in the world. In addition to being a lot of fun, swimming comes with a variety of health benefits. These are nine of the ways swimming can improve your health.

1. Provides a Full Body Workout

Many people have busy schedules that make fitting exercise into their lives difficult. If you have a limited amount of time for exercise, doing a full-body workout can help ensure that you get the maximum benefit out of the time that you do have. Swimming uses all of the muscles in your body and you can choose from a variety of different strokes that emphasize different muscle groups. Additionally, the resistance from the water forces your body to work harder than if you were doing the same movement on land. To make swimming an even more convenient choice, consider installing a pool at your home. It may be worth the cost of an inground pool to save the time it would take to drive to a gym or public pool.

2. Lowers Stress Levels

Stress from work, homelife and other sources can have a detrimental impact on your health. Studies have shown that stress contributes to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many other health conditions. Regular swimming sessions have been found to decrease stress levels, improve sleep and reduce depression and anxiety. Best of all, you don’t need to exhaust yourself to see these benefits. Light intensity swimming has been shown to provide stress reduction and other mental health benefits.

3. Helps With Weight Loss or Maintenance

Swimming is one of the best ways to burn some extra calories. A low-intensity swim burns about twice as many calories as walking and higher-intensity swimming can burn more calories than running or riding a bike.

4. Reduces the Risk of Several Diseases

Swimming is a very beneficial form of cardiovascular exercise. As little as 30 minutes per week of swimming has been shown to lower the risk of developing stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

5. Boosts Energy Levels

If you are feeling a bit sluggish, swimming may help you boost your energy level. It is often inactivity, rather than aging that lowers energy levels as people age. You can receive the energy benefit of swimming by doing it three times a week for 30 minutes.

6. Is Gentle on the Body

Swimming can be a good choice for people who are older, overweight or have joint problems or injuries. When you swim, up to 90% of your body weight is supported by the water. Because of this, swimming doesn’t put the same strain on the body as weight-bearing activities, such as walking, jogging or running. If you need to protect your joints or rehab an injury, swimming can be a good choice.

7. Builds Bone Mass

It used to be widely accepted that only weight-bearing activities promoted an increase in bone mass. However, recent studies have indicated that while swimming may not be as beneficial as activities such as running, it does have a positive effect on bone mass, without the wear and tear on the body caused by higher-impact activities.

8. Improves Flexibility

When you swim, you must reach, twist, pull and stretch to maneuver through the water. These various motions help to improve range of motion and increase flexibility.

9. Reduces Exercise-Induced Asthma

The moisture in the air you breathe while swimming can reduce the chances of suffering an exercise-induced asthma attack when compared to other activities. Additionally, swimming has been found to improve the overall health of the lungs. People without asthma can also benefit from increases in overall lung-volume and the promotion of good breathing techniques.

Many people enjoy swimming as a fun recreational activity. Choosing an exercise you enjoy makes it much more likely that you will stick with it. Adding swimming to your routine can help you reap these and other benefits to your health.