World Mental Health Day: swimming towards a happier you
This October 10th is World Mental Health Day; a day to encourage the education, awareness, and support of mental health issues. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, meaning the cause is a lot closer to home than we might think.
We talk a lot about swimming competitively - which definitely has its benefits! But what about swimming just to take the edge off? Swimming has reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in over 1.4 million adults in Britain. Whether you’re looking out for your own mental health, that of a loved one, or looking for a new way to chill out, here’s why swimming could help.
It relaxes you
Going for a swim is a great opportunity to steal away some much-needed time for yourself. We are so busy with school, work, or looking out for other people we often forget to look after ourselves.
But any pool time can be yours alone. You can leave your daily stresses in the locker room and get the space needed to reflect on what you’re thinking or feeling. And despite Apple’s attempts at a waterproof iPhone, this time is strictly digital-free!
The action of swimming - the repetitive stroke and steady rhythm - also acts like a meditative technique. If you focus on each movement, you’ll soon find your mind stops wandering and learns to switch off.
Swimming is also soothing for the senses. Admittedly, the cold water isn’t too fun at first, but after a while, it’ll leave you feeling rejuvenated. The feel of water running over you will help to relax you by providing a massaging effect. Also, buoyancy in the pool leaves you feeling light as a feather - both literally and metaphorically!
It distracts you
If you tend to overthink and want a way to calm your thoughts, swimming allows you to channel your focus into your technique. There’s less space for anxious thoughts and worries if you’re focused on beating your lap time or working on nailing your turns.
It releases endorphins
Swimming, like all types of exercise, releases endorphins. These are natural ‘feel good’ compounds that help relieve pain and stress. The body is amazing for helping us out. You’ll come away from the pool feeling brand new and able to tackle whatever you’ve got going on.
It gets you out of the house
If you struggle with your mental health, it can be easy to shut yourself away. Swimming gives you somewhere to go and can help get you out of the house.
It motivates you
Even if you’re not looking to swim competitively, you can still enter into some friendly competition with yourself, right?
Swimming gives you some motivation. You might find yourself wanting to swim faster or for longer than you have before. Not only will this keep you motivated to keep coming back to the pool, but it’ll make your swims even more satisfying when you make progress. This motivation and sense of accomplishment will likely trickle over to other aspects of your life too.
Mental health struggles are a common part of all our lives. Whether you struggle yourself or have a loved one who does, it’s important we encourage open lines of communication where people feel able to discuss their struggles. For some much-needed time to relax and switch off, why not head down to your local pool?
At Maru, we have a wide range of high-quality swimwear to suit all tastes and styles. Whether you swim daily or just like the occasional relaxing dip, our pieces will keep you comfortable and supported. Browse the full range here.