Pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds are great places to have fun, be active, or just relax. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention wants you to learn how to stay healthy and safe when in the water this summer.
Swimming is one of the most popular sports activities in the United States. Just 2.5 hours of physical activity per week, including water-based activity, has health benefits, no matter our age. As with any form of physical activity, we maximize the health benefits of swimming when we each do our part to minimize the chance of illness and injury. Swimming is a fun and a great way to stay healthy and spend time with family and friends.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATER-BASED EXERCISE
Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease 2. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land 4. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.
WATER-BASED EXERCISE AND CHRONIC ILLNESS
Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases. For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. People with rheumatoid arthritis have more health improvements after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities 8. Water-based exercise also improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis.
WATER-BASED EXERCISE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Water-based exercise improves mental health. Swimming can improve mood in both men and women. For people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mothers’ mental health. Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections.
WATERBASED EXERVISE AND OLDER ADULTS
Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving the quality of life and decreasing disability. It also improves or maintains the bone health of post-menopausal women.
A GOOD CHOICE
Exercising in water offers many physical and mental health benefits and is a good choice for people who want to be more active. When in the water, remember to protect yourself and others from illness and injury by practicing healthy and safe swimming behaviors.
This summer and year round, let’s follow CDC’s Steps of Healthy Swimming to protect ourselves and our loved ones from illness and injury when swimming or playing in the water.
Information on this page was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.