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Last Updated on September 3, 2018

10 Amazing Benefits of Swimming You Never Knew

10 Amazing Benefits of Swimming You Never Knew

Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young.

It is utilized by athletes to stay strong and keep fit when recovering from injury, and there is no fancy equipment needed—just you and the deep blue.

Swimming has many more benefits that those obvious advantages seen on the surface; its improvements to overall health go much deeper. So, let’s take a big breath, and dive into the 10 benefits of swimming:

1. Swimming improves muscle definition and strength.

Swimmers gain muscle strength throughout the entire body. Where runners see muscle build in their legs, swimmers utilize more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best aerobic exercises to give you a total body workout. Just look at Michel Phelps’ fit physique if you need inspiration!

2. Swimming builds up bone mass.

For years, researchers scoffed at the idea that swimming affected bone mass. After all, only weight-bearing exercises were able to achieve this benefit, right? Not according to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Because there are ethical reasons to avoid in-depth bone examination on humans, the study put rats into three groups: running, swimming, and a control group with no exercise stimulation. While running still showed the highest increase in BMD (Bone Mineral Density),[1] the swimming group also showed benefits over the control group in both BMD and femoral bone weight. While more studies are needed, these new findings show that previous research dismissing swimming’s bone benefits may need to be revisited.

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3. Swimming helps you stay flexible.

Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still stretch on your own, but repetitive stretching found in your various strokes also helps with flexibility.

4. Swimming reduces inflammation.

While swimming’s cardiovascular benefits of strengthening the heart muscle are common knowledge, research also indicates aerobic activities,[2] such as swimming, reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis[3] build-up in the heart.

Reducing system-wide inflammation leads to lessened disease progression in many other areas as well, so expect to hear of more benefits as the research progresses.

5. Swimming holds its own for calories burned.

Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but most don’t realize it can be just as efficient as jumping on the treadmill. Depending on the stroke you choose and your intensity, swimming can burn equal or greater calories than running.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about sweat in your eyes. For example: for 10 minutes of swimming you burn 60 calories with the breast stroke, 80 calories with the backstroke, 100 calories with freestyle, and an impressive 150 with the butterfly stroke.

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For perspective, running a 10-minute mile burns around 100 calories. Therefore, a strong 30-min butterfly speed session can burn 150 more calories than running a 5K in the same time frame.

6. Swimming can improve exercise-induced asthma.

Nothing is as frustrating as trying to exercise and being unable to get your breath. Unlike working out in dry gym air or braving seasonal pollen counts, however, swimming allows you to breath moist air while you train. Not only does swimming help alleviate asthma symptoms, studies have shown that it can actually improve the overall condition of the lungs.

In a recent study, a group of children that completed a six-week swimming program saw improvements in symptom severity, snoring, mouth-breathing, and hospitalization and ER visits. These benefits were still noted a year after the swimming program ended. People who don’t have asthma benefit too as swimming increases overall lung-volume and teaches good breathing techniques.[4]

7. Swimming lowers stress and depression.

Love that natural endorphin kick? While many talk about a runner’s high, swimming can bring about all those feel-good emotions too.

In addition to the happy hormones, you also can feel a relaxation response similar to yoga. As I mentioned previously, swimming stretches your body constantly. Combine this with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation rush that’s very unique to the sport.

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Swimming is also calming and meditative, as the sound of your breathing and the water rushing by helps you focus inward and drown out all other distractions. This lowers stress and depression naturally.

Research also shows that swimming can reverse damage to the brain from stress through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis.[5] So, if you feel like you’re drowning emotionally, jumping in an actual body of water may be exactly what you need to find your feel-good feet again.

8. Salt-water swimming can be a beauty treatment for skin.

When I switch from pool swimming to open water workouts in the ocean, I noticed a vast improvement in my skin over time.

Swimming regularly in salt water helps the skin retain moisture and detoxify to promote new cell growth.[6] You will be surprised how smooth and healthy your skin feels after an invigorating ocean swim.

9. Swimming can make you smarter.

Of course all exercise is great for the mind, but can swimming actually make you smarter?

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Research from Australia focused on kids who took swimming lessons compared to a control group of non-swimmers. The results showed that kids who regularly participated in swimming were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence, and physical development sooner than the control group.

Swimming may also help with math skills, as swimmers regularly calculate the meters swum in sets or interval drills to put their adding and subtraction skills to work.

10. Swimming may just lengthen your life.

While all exercise can produce greater health and longevity, studies point to swimming as one of the best choices for doing so. Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men, aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate than runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise.[7]

Feeling motivated to grab those goggles now? The water’s great! Jump on in:

What You Need to Know About Swimming for Exercise

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success

Successful people “think” success all the time. That is why their goals are firmly lodged in their subconscious.

While most believe that having a long-term goal is crucial to success, successful people understand that without small, daily goals, you will get demotivated easily; success will in turn become hard.

In this article, we will look into the importance of setting daily goals and how to having daily goals that help you achieve success.

How to “think” success with your subconscious

The subconscious is brilliant at prioritizing. It listens to you and gauges from your thoughts what you think is the most important task. This means that what you think about most of the time is what the subconscious will think is the most important thing for you, and will try to find creative solutions.

If you think about problems, the subconscious will try to find you more problems. If you think about solutions, goals and dreams, it will try to make them come true.

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But the subconscious goes even further when trying to understand what you think is important; it “listens” to your feelings.

Luckily, it has been proven that a positive thought is over 100 times as positive as a negative thought. This makes it a lot easier to drive positive emotions into your subconscious.

How daily goals keep you positive

It is enough to be positive and keep your thoughts on what you want — and you don’t have to go monitoring your thoughts all the time.

It is enough to imbue your thoughts a few times a day with a powerful positive emotion when thinking about your goals. The more you can do it, the more powerful this exercise will be.

For many, reading their goals or making plans become a chore, something that fills them with negative emotions. This ruins the full potential of these activities; filling yourself with positive emotions while thinking about your goals will make them a lot more powerful.

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Over the last several years, I have been taught several exercises that can help you focus more on your goals and spend more time thinking about and feeling about them. What I want you to remember when doing these exercises is to have fun. Never see them as a chore, you are living your goals, it is something to enjoy.

If you don’t feel uplifted at the thought of focusing on your goals, you might as well not do the exercise today. Do it tomorrow instead because it will do more harm than good if you are in the wrong mood when thinking about your goals.

Why positive thoughts inspire you ideas

In my business, I constantly need to come up with new ways to improve efficiency, new ideas to test and new subjects to teach. It takes a lot of creative work — and creative work has always been one of my weaker areas.

Luckily, thanks to all my work with goal setting (and because of my focus on my goals), my subconscious knows these are the things I need the most help with and that they are very important to me.

Every day I get new ideas of things I can try out, products I can create, seminar subjects I can offer, and so on.  All of them aren’t good but when you throw enough “mud against the wall”, something will stick. And that is what my subconscious does — it feeds me idea after idea.

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How to set daily goals for yourself

This method is used by countless thousands around the world and for everyone who has tried it, the effects have been incredible:

  1. Each morning, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down your 10 top goals. Don’t look at the day before, just think about what you want to most and write them down.
  2. Remember to write them in the positive present tense and remember to set a deadline for each goal. Just like we did when setting your long term and short term goals. (For example you could set the goal “I make 10,000 dollars per month by the December 31 next year.”)
  3. Do this for all 10 goals.

In the beginning, writing down 10 goals might be difficult. Each day, they might look a bit different and some of the goals you write never come back again.

If you forget a goal, it is because it wasn’t all that important and something more important has taken its place.

What difference does it make?

By starting your day setting your 10 top goals, you jump-start your creativity — which will motivate you for the rest of the day. You will have programmed yourself to focus on your goals and to move towards them and their completion.

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What will happen to you?

If you do this, you will start to realize what is important to you. You’ll see what goals keep surfacing and what goals vanish.

You will know what you want and you will find yourself presented with opportunities that you haven’t noticed before.

You will be more creative in finding ideas and chances to make your dreams reality.

The bottom line

Having goals on a daily basis can change your life for the better. It will help you keep moving faster and faster towards your goals and dreams.

So now set your goals and make having daily goals your good habit:

  1. Buy a notebook and a pen at your local bookstore.
  2. Start writing down 10 goals every morning, without looking at the day before.
  3. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and capitalize on them.
What’s next after setting your goals? While your routine is the key to achieving your goals, you can take these 6 simple steps to make progress towards achieving goals.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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