Stress relief in the now – an instant stress relief series: Swimming (Swim away from the stress)

Swimming Dog

By The original uploader was Eloquence at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So we’ve all heard about how swimming is a great way to lose weight, you to use pretty much your entire body to stay afloat and to move forward (or backward if you wanted). There are so many different strokes/ways you can use to swim and so many people like to do it (not everyone but quite a few none the less), even I like swimming especially when I was kid. I always dreamed have having my own swimming pool so that I could go swimming whenever I wanted, granted I’m not a good swimmer but I still like it. But did you know that swimming is a good way to get rid of stress almost instantly?

I already wrote a post about how exercise can help deal with stress (put link here) and yes the exercise you do when swimming does play a role in it, but there is more to it than just the exercise. When you’re swimming there is a lot of work involved, you need to keep yourself coordinated. Think about it, if we broke down the steps of swimming with the front stroke, it would look something like this:

  1. Move right hand in a circle.
  2. Kick left foot.
  3. Move left hand in a circle.
  4. Bring head to take a breathe.
  5. Make sure you don’t hit anything.
  6. Bring head back down.
  7. Kick right foot.
  8. Stay afloat.
  9. Repeat

It may not seem like a lot but if you want to do that 100 times in a row you need all your brain functions to work in sync to get it right so you need to be focused. This is why swimming helps you with stress, apart from the benefit that exercise brings to stress, you are so focused when swimming that you don’t get a chance to think about whatever is stressing you out. Even just floating on your back requires focus; have you ever seen people just floating around on their backs in a swimming pool? Look at them, look at their faces, do they look stressed out? Ninety percent of the time, the answer will be no; they might have a look of concentration since they are working on keeping themselves afloat but I doubt that there will be that much stress (if I’m wrong about this then I apologise in advance).

In some ways swimming can be considered akin to meditation, your focused entirely on one thing and driving every other thought out (more or less).

To further drive my point home here are two articles which talk about how swimming can help us with stress. First we have “Stress Relief with Swimming,” from stress-relief-choices.com. Here they talk about the health benefits of swimming as well as how swimming relieves stress. Next we have “How Swimming Reduces Depression,” written by Therese J. Borchard and posted on psychcentral.com.In this one they not only talk about how swimming helps depression and anxiety, they also quote an article from the Jan/Feb issue of “Swimmer” magazine. The article they quote is called “Staying Happy?” and is written by James Thornton.

So grab yourself a swimsuit (or buy one if you don’t have one already) and go out for a swim, and don’t worry about that summer bod, first try to feel good then you can think about looking good.

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