This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Swimming can cut men’s risk of dying in half, reported Medical News Today in 2009. This news followed a University of South Carolina study of 40,000 men ages 20-90 that found swimmers had the lowest death rate when compared to runners, walkers and sedentary peers. Since this study, swimming has gained fame and followers for its myriad health benefits.
#1: Swimming eases joint pain
Swimming allows for physical activity with little equipment and few potential problems such as injury. You can build and strengthen muscles while improving mobility — it’s the perfect exercise for those who can’t (or shouldn’t) run or engage in some other type of cardio-respiratory fitness routine. Swimmers find the activity easier on the joints, according to the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSFP).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that swimming can help improve symptoms of arthritis and joint damage. The exercises are gentle enough to avoid putting additional strain on your joints, but also provide enough resistance to help improve your physical mobility.
#2: Swimming promotes weight loss
Swimming burns roughly 500 calories per hour, according to Women’s Health Magazine. For a vigorous swim, you can expect to burn as much as 700 calories. Not only are you getting the benefits of a cardiovascular workout, you also build muscles from the water resistance.
#3: Swimming boosts heart health
The aerobic exercise helps your heart become stronger and more efficient. The NSPF reports that inflammation is lowered, as increased blood flow prevents fatty build-ups on the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
#4: Swimming improves mental health
Health benefits of swimming are not limited to the physical aspects of exercise. It can also improve your overall mood and can help reduce anxiety from fibromyalgia, according to the CDC.
How to Stay Healthy While Exercising
Although swimming is a good way to beat the heat and get a workout, you still need to watch out for a few things. Hydration and sunscreen are important ingredients to staying healthy while exercising. Although you might feel comfortably cool in the water, remember to drink a glass of water every half an hour during your exercise routine. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you don’t feel overheated, but it’s important for your health.
Wear waterproof sunscreen with all-natural ingredients before you go into the pool. Use a sunscreen that’s hypoallergenic if you have sensitive skin.