Many people experience depression daily, including our children. Water has long been known as being therapeutic whether it’s watching the ocean waves, sitting and listening to a fountain or swimming in a pool. Exercise is also one of the most common activities recommended to combat mental illness and it’s hard to find an activity more suited than swimming which combines the physical exercise with the healing benefits of water. Here are some of the reasons that swimming can combat depression.
It physically lowers depression –
- Regular swimming, even just 30 minutes a day is known to lower depression and improve sleep patterns. Swimming also releases endorphins that help us experience a greater sense of happiness and well-being.
- Swimming can lead to an improvement in self-worth, and a general sense of satisfaction in life. Research shows that water-based activity helps release tension and just being in the water can make people feel happier about themselves.
Provides Stress Relief –
- Swimming provides a fun and effective way to relieve stress, maybe more than any other exercise. Being in the water itself can relax the mind and body and bring a sense of peace.
- Focusing on your breathing as you practice the rhythmic strokes of swimming can have an almost meditative effect on the mind.
Makes a Positive Impact on the Brain –
- Recent studies show that being in water boosts the blood flow to the brain. This increases the supply of oxygen, glucose and nutrients needed for a positive impact on brain health.
Further studies suggest that children who learn to swim earlier develop quicker than their peers or non-swimmers. These developments include talking, reading, numeracy and visual motor skills.
Increases Social Interaction –
- While swimming itself is a solo form of physical activity, it can also be a hobby and team sport that is shared with others. It is so beneficial to meet others that can share experiences, swap techniques or tips or just enjoy some fun time together with.
- Swimming can keep the whole family active. There are games that can be played at any age and any swimming ability. Take some friends to the pool and try some races or set up some challenges.
- Social interaction can continue out of the pool too through other sports, social events or just eating together after swimming.
While depression should always be discussed with your doctor, swimming is a safe and healthy way to fight it anytime. It can be a physical release while swimming laps and focusing on breathing, or an emotional boost while laughing and playing games with family and friends. Plan it into a routine to make it easier to make the decision to get up go do it, and most importantly keep doing whatever it takes to help your depression.