How swimming improves mental health

Keeping active is important for your health, but being mentally fit is also important. Swimming can help with this.

Your mental health is ever changing. Many different factors and life events affect it in positive and negative ways.

Stress caused by work, education, money problems, bereavement or relationship breakdowns can all cause mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Getting older can also have an effect on mental health.

Mental health can be broken down into two definitions. The first is mental wellbeing and the second is mental illness.

  • Mental wellbeing covers areas in life such as optimism, self-esteem, feeling in control, life satisfaction, feeling like a part of something and receiving support from friends and families.
  • Mental illness refers to a diagnosable condition. It will have a huge impact on a person’s ability to function, both physically and socially. Mental illness interferes with thought process, emotions and ability to interact socially. Illnesses include depression, schizophrenia and psychoses.

How swimming can improve mental health

Any kind of physical activity can have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, but swimming is particularly effective.

Swimming for just half an hour three times a week can lower stress levels, raise mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety and improve sleep patterns.

At least one in six people suffers from depression in the UK. Rhythmic and aerobic forms of exercise like swimming improve psychological wellbeing.

For older adults already living with conditions such dementia, swimming can improve memory, ability to concentrate and focus. Find out more through the Dementia Friendly Swimming Project.

Physical activity such as swimming is known to

  • Enhance self-worth: 30% of active adults feel less distressed.
  • Increase general satisfaction in life.
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