5 health benefits of swimming that'll convince you to take the plunge

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Taking up swimming will strengthen your core, brighten your mood and make you live longer. What are you waiting for?

Swimming, pool, relaxation

© Getty - Handbag

Perhaps it's the endless snaps of celebs looking stunning in their swimming cossies, but we're just not that pumped about slipping into our own.

New stats from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) show that one in seven people can't remember the last time they went swimming, while almost a third haven't been for a swim in the last year.

If you're still wrapped in your towel and shivering on the sideline (metaphorically of course), here are some great reasons to dive in.

6 reasons to start swimming


1. Improves flexibility, posture and balance


Not only does swimming work your muscles, it also stretches the muscle fibres and ligaments - helping to maintain the tension in our tendons that support the way our body moves.

Swimming is the only low-impact workout that works the whole body at the same time. In doing so, it forces the body to align itself naturally, resulting in a stronger core and back. Regular swimmers notice that they stand taller and have better balance as a consequence.

2. Swimming can help you control your weight


Swimming is a great exercise for people who don't like to get hot and sweaty. A gentle swim can burn over 200 Kcal in half an hour, while a fast front crawl can burn as many calories as a sprint session.

3. It's good for your joints


If you're worried about the effect pavement-pounding is having on your knees (or your boobs!) switch to the water. Swimming is a low impact workout, as the water can support up to 90 per cent of your body's weight.

4. Swimming is a great stress buster


There's something very soothing about water and the way your body is able to move easily through it. Indeed, a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that water-based exercise has a measurable positive impact on mental health.

5. It builds a healthier heart


We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you have a job where you spend most of the day sitting, you're not doing your heart any favours.

Swimming massively improves your cardiovascular system by getting your heart pumping and improving blood circulation. In turn, this helps to scrape away the small layers of cholesterol and other toxins within the blood vessels.

6. It will help you live longer


It sounds incredible, but swimming has been shown to cut the risk of dying by nearly 50 per cent.

A 32-year study at the University of South Carolina followed 40,000 people, ranging from 20 to 90 years old and discovered that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or those who got no exercise. Well that settles that then.

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