December 18, 2020
It brings us friends
Whatever we do in water, it brings us friends. Whether we meet them at the beach, or in the changing room, our water friends are the best!
It makes us part of a community
Loving water makes us part of a welcoming, global community, so we always have people to swim with and help us out, wherever we go.
It brings us mindfulness
Time in the water is time away from technology. It is meditation. Me and the water time.
It brings back childhood memories
Whatever about training and competing, divebombing into the water makes even the most serious athlete feel like a kid again, and water gives you so many opportunities to do stuff like that!
It makes us feel healthier
Swimming is a full-body workout, and even 30 minutes in a pool leaves you feeling energised and invigorated. Add in some water polo drills, or dives, and you’ve got yourself one of the best workouts available.
It is kind to our heart
When we are in water we are continuously moving large muscle groups, and raising our heart rate. The unique thing about water though is that the buoyancy and cooling effect means our heartrate stays lower than it would for the same effort on land. It’s a solid cardiovascular exercise, suitable even for some people with certain illnesses that might not be able to do land-based cardio. If that’s you, it is really worth asking your doctor about swimming.
It requires learning a life skill
Being comfortable in the water, and being able to swim, is an important life skill, which makes us feel more confident. Taking it a step further and becoming a lifeguard, helps us help others. It’s a really rewarding qualification.
It gives us confidence
Not only does being comfortable in the water make you feel confidence in daily life, but swimming, and getting fitter – and faster – does too.
It gives us freedom
Water comes in so many forms, from pools, to lakes, to seas, some that are warm, and others that are freezing! Diving into any body of water makes you feel free, suspended, but this is particularly true in open water.
It gives us adventure
Travelling to pool competitions in far off lands with our teammates, or going on seafaring swim holidays with our friends and family, the water offers so much adventure, and a window into another world, that so many who don’t like water just don’t get to experience!
It challenges us
‘Can I get a PB today?’ ‘Could I complete a 10k swim this year?’ ‘Can I just be brave enough to swim over the seaweed once?!’ Water is an alien place for a human to be, and it therefore presents many challenges. Overcoming each one gives us a sense of achievement, and a drive to want to do more. This cycle never really runs out, because you can keep going until you are over 100 years old!
It welcomes all ages
The water welcomes you whether you are newborn or 100 years old. Being able to float in the water means less pressure on joints, but at the same time the cardiovascular effort needed to swim helps keep hearts healthy at all ages.
It’s enjoyable all seasons
From winter dips and pool sessions, to spring training and competition, summer sea swims, and autumn waterfalls, the water has something for us to enjoy in every season – no matter how we love the water!
It improves our breathing
When running or cycling, for example, your breathing becomes quicker and exhaling becomes more forceful, but with swimming it’s the other way around. You breathe deeply and let the air slowly trickle out, improving the strength of your respiratory muscles. This means it’s the best form of exercise for people with asthma.
It can help us sleep better
When you swim, you alternate between stretching and relaxing muscles, while simultaneously breathing deeply in a rhythmic pattern. Swimming, in all the strokes, is actually similar to Yoga in this way. It’s incredibly meditative, and can be very relaxing, which is why it can help us sleep better – that, and it takes a lot of energy!
It reduces inflammation
Being submerged in water creates a centripetal movement of blood (towards the centre of the body), relieving swelling and pressure in the limbs. It can be useful for people suffering from chronic inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. It can also just feel nice and relaxing for anyone! And may help boost your recovery!
Whether recovering from an injury, or feeling stressed, or just wanting to take it easy while you are pregnant, the water can help you. Cold water in particular has well-known therapeutic benefits – a dip in the Irish Sea clears the mind of most things.
It boosts our mood!
This year more than ever, many of us have noticed just how much swimming improves our mood. All those weeks being out of the water definitely did get us down! But just one lap of the pool, or a five minute splash in the sea, and our smiles return! Cold water is extra good at releasing endorphins, which is handy for us Irish folk!