Psychological Benefits You Get From Swimming

Paschalis Ntatsos

The great thing about swimming is, it is low impact and people of all ages can reap the psychological benefits that it offers. 


Want to improve your mental well being and destress but not sure if swimming for fitness is for you? Keeping active has many benefits and swimming is a great way to help with this. You can revitalize your body and mind whilst getting in a killer workout. In this article, we will share some of the amazing psychological benefits that you can get from swimming.

The psychological benefits of swimming aren’t as commonly known as the physical advantages, however, they are just as important to one’s overall health and wellbeing. Research shows that those who swim on a regular basis, both amateur and professionals, experience far less stress, anger, reduced severity of mental illness symptoms. Furthermore, many claim they get more energy from swimming than they do from other forms of exercise. The great thing about swimming is, it is low impact and people of all ages can reap the psychological benefits that it offers.

Some of these include:

Serotonin and endorphins
Swimming may release feel-good hormones, serotonin, and endorphins. They bring about a sense of euphoria, elation, and increased mood. Research shows that getting a regular dose of these hormones can help the body to cope with stress better, reduce pain and can drastically improve overall mental health. Swimming is a great way to naturally reduce the effects of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Mental clarity and energy
Functioning more productively throughout the day and having mental clarity are additional psychological benefits that people often get from swimming. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and muscles allowing your body to function at its full potential and increase energy levels.

Can help you sleep
If you are feeling stressed and tense the likely hood of you having a great night’s sleep is slim. By making swimming a regular part of your exercise routine can help you release built-up negative energy and tension so that when it comes time to go to bed, you’ll fall asleep much easier and have a more restful sleep. Leaving you to wake up energized and ready to take on the day.

Increased self-confidence
Swimming laps is something that you generally do on your own, being able to move with the correct technique requires real skill. This can boost confidence drastically. Setting your yourself goals or target to work towards and successfully reaching is something to be proud of. It will give you the motivation to keep going.

Breathing regulation
An essential component of swimming is having the ability to regulate your breath. The systemic breathing cycle that is required for swimming laps ensures you take adequate breaths in and out. It reduces blood pressure, aids relaxation and releases toxins and impurities from your body. Swimming increases lung capacity too which makes them stronger. Swimming is fantastic for those who forget to breathe properly.

Increases blood flow
Research conducted by Carter claims that immersing your body into water will increase blood flow to the brain. As a result, it improves mood, concentration and memory and overall cognitive functioning. Additionally, a 2014 study by confirms this claim by explaining that when participants were immersed in water up to the level of the heart compared to on land, brain blood flow was higher. Blood flow to their middle cerebral arteries increased by 14 percent, while blood flow to their posterior cerebral arteries increased by 9 percent.  Increased blood flow to the brain is key to maintaining the superior wellbeing of the body. Optimal circulation of oxygen increases vitality and energy. This results in the mind working to its full potential.

Reduce stress and tension
Swimming is a great way to manage and cope with stress. Jumping in the pool for some exercise when you are stressed is a great way to relieve tension and clear your head. Swimming laps gets your heart rate up, which forces you to focus on your breathing. The feeling of gliding through the water creates a calming and soothing sensation which adds to your relaxation. Many of us experience a certain level of stress at some point in our lives, when we have a lot on our plate our bodies produce high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Swimming can help to disengage with our thoughts which can alleviate stress and help us to unwind.

International research funded by Speedo, has revealed that swimmers agree that swimming helps to release stress and tension, makes them more confident about the way they look and leaves them feeling mentally refreshed.

The results revealed the following psychological benefits of regular swimming:

–       Getting in the pool is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day, with 74% of those surveyed agreeing that swimming helps release stress and tension

–       Swimming is the ideal ‘feel good’ exercise, with 68% saying that being in the water helps them to feel good about themselves

–       Over two-thirds of those surveyed feel that swimming can have a positive mental impact, with 70% agreeing that it helps them to feel mentally refreshed

The international study took in the views of a global panel of swimmers aged between 16-45 across key markets and including a wide cross-section of swimmers from those who swim only occasionally to those who swim regularly as part of a vigorous exercise regime

With swimming already regarded as a highly effective way to remain fit and healthy thanks to its low impact and high cardiovascular benefits, the new insight into the psychological impact of swimming further enhances its reputation as one of the best forms of exercise possible.

Physiological benefits of swimming for children

1. Boosts confidence
If children have not grown up around water, they can sometimes fear it. Facing this fear is liberating as it builds self-esteem and confidence. Having strong self-esteem encourages a positive, can-do attitude towards exercise and keeping healthy. Children that have confidence in themselves are more likely to reach out and socialize with their peers.

2. Increase social skills
As mentioned above, swimming laps are generally done individually, however, children can still get in a great workout by playing in the water with other children. In Australia, we are surrounded by water and swimming is a common social activity that is enjoyed by many. Children are able to build solid friendships with children they share common interests with.

3. Increases mental development
Swimming improves emotional and brain development in children by stimulating their senses. Swimming encourages young children to take deeper breaths which helps with language development and communication skills. Swimming supports the mind and body and promotes intelligence and brain development.

4. A great way to unwind
Swimming is a great way for children to destress. By including swimming into a child’s weekly routine can encourage a balanced lifestyle.Whether you are just starting out as a swimmer or you have years of experience, there’s no denying the numerous amount of psychological benefits that swimming can provide. It not only increases stamina and cardiovascular health but also increases mood and alleviates stress.