Finding the perfect exercise regimen can feel like its own workout. Running might be too uninteresting, Crossfit could be too intimidating, spinning classes may be too loud.
Enter this tried and true workout you may not have considered: swimming.
Sure, the exercise may seem like a hassle. You have to carve out a chunk of time in your day, find a pool and get your hair wet. But the benefits may be more worth it than you realize. Here are a few reasons you should give swimming a shot:
1. Water is calming.
Water has long been a symbol of renewal and clarity — and there’s research to back this up. Studies suggest being around the element has a powerful effect on the brain.
Spending time near water can be similar to meditation, in that it gives the brain a break from the constant overstimulation people often experience in modern life. The best part? You can reap these cognitive benefits by going for a swim and getting some exercise in the process. You could also give floating therapy a try.
2. Swimming is low impact.
Unlike jogging or plyometric training, swimming is a way to fit cardio into your workout routine without putting stress on your bones, joints and muscles. This is a plus for swimmers of all ages and body types, but it’s particularly beneficial for seniors and people with arthritis. It’s one of the best ways to stay active while taking care of all parts of your body.
3. It can bring you closer to nature.
If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean or a lake, opting to swim in a natural body of water could be even better for your health. Studies show that spending time in nature can improve your mental and physical well-being by helping you maintain a healthy weight, reducing stress and boosting your mood.
Plus, becoming a stronger swimmer might open doors to other water-based activities like snorkeling or surfing. A lifelong love of all things aquatic starts with dipping your toes in the shallow end.
4. Swimming builds strength and cardio abilities simultaneously.
Though it’s a low-impact workout, swimming produces high-power results. It is typically considered an aerobic exercise, but exercising in water also provides moderate resistance. This can in turn build strength, Women’s Health reported.
Building and maintaining muscle, especially as you grow older, is essential for a healthy body and a long life. Resistance training also improves balance, sleep and bone health. Talk about a total-body workout.
5. It could help maintain healthy lungs.
Some research suggests there’s a link between swimmers and a better lung capacity.
With healthy lungs, the body can process oxygen more proficiently — this means you won’t feel winded or out of breath as easily. Stronger lungs might also help you ward off illness. A 2007 study found a link between reduced lung capacity and cardiovascular disease.
Essentially, swimming reigns supreme for maintaining a healthy body and mind. So dive on in — the water’s fine.
Article originally appeared on The Huffington Post, by Landess Kearns