Competitive swimming is more than a fun sport or a simple way to cool down in the summer. It also offers significant physical, mental and social benefits for both adults and youth. Swimming requires intense focus and discipline, all while exercising nearly every part of your body, including your muscles and cardiovascular system. The skills you acquire during competitive swim training are also highly applicable to other areas of your life, including work, school and relationships.
Here are 10 reasons you should consider joining a competitive swim program.
1. It Can Relieve Stress
With workloads, school assignments and personal obligations, juggling all your responsibilities can get overwhelming. Swimming is a great outlet to release this stress. Swimming is a type of aerobic exercise that creates a sense of calm and reduces your body's natural adrenaline and cortisol levels. At the same time, it produces endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. All these chemical reactions mean swimming will not only help relieve stress, but you might also finish your competitive training session feeling better than ever.
2. You'll Meet New People
One study from the University of Minnesota found young adults who implement regular socialization and exercise into their routines tend to have better mental health than those who don't. With competitive swimming, you have the opportunity to do both! Whether you're new in town or seeking opportunities to meet people, joining a competitive swim team opens doors to making new friends. You'll get the chance to bond with your teammates and competitors over a shared interest and common goal, and have fun while you're doing it.
3. It's Good for Your Cardiovascular Health
You likely already know that exercise is an essential part of maintaining your cardiovascular health, but swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can do for your heart. As you propel yourself in the water, the force of the water pushes back. The act of moving through this resistance offers a vigorous workout that's gentle on joints, minimizing the risk of common exercise-related injuries. Water buoyancy also takes stress off vulnerable spots, making it easier to exercise for extended periods.
4. It Teaches Valuable Water Skills
Training for a competitive swim meet will help you perfect your water survival skills, an essential ability for children and adults. The better swimmer you are, the safer you are in non-competitive settings, like when at the beach or on a boat. Learning how to swim well is especially crucial for young kids, who are at a higher risk for accidental drownings. By joining a competitive swim team, you can work one-on-one with coaches and teammates to learn and perfect these skills.
5. It Will Build and Strengthen Muscles
One of the most significant health benefits of swimming is the ability to target muscle development in critical areas of your body. The same water resistance that improves cardiovascular health can also help you build and strengthen muscles in your arms, legs, core and other places for a stronger, leaner body. Building muscle strength also reduces your risk of injury, increases your mobility and flexibility and even reduces the likelihood of developing some diseases.
6. It Can Help You Achieve Weight-Loss Goals
Are you looking for a program to help you manage your weight? Swimming is a great option — especially in a competitive setting where you and your fellow competitors can keep each other accountable for your training progress. Weight loss through a sport is also an excellent way to work toward your goals without letting them become your sole focus. Instead of zeroing in on your weight alone, you're also trying to beat your previous lap time or perfect a specific movement. Swimming will help you establish more realistic, sustainable weight-loss habits that you enjoy doing.
7. It Fosters a Healthy Sense of Competition
With competitive swimming, there is always something to conquer, whether it's your opponent, your fitness goals or setting a new record. The act of setting and achieving these goals — whether personal or against an opponent — hones your ability to focus and push yourself. Plus, every time you win or exceed the goals you've set, you're boosting your self-esteem and letting yourself know that you can overcome challenges.
8. It Lets You Practice Self-Discipline
Swimming competitively is different from swimming recreationally. Because you're working to meet specific objectives, you must develop a robust sense of self-discipline to train and practice. You'll need the willpower to create a schedule that integrates your new commitment and then stick to it, which also perfects your time-management skills.
When it comes to self-discipline, one of the most significant mental benefits of competitive swimming is that you are accountable for your performance. After every practice session and swim meet, it's up to you to analyze your performance and identify what you did well and areas you would like to improve on before your next event.
9. It Keeps Your Mind Sharp
If you want to keep your mind sharp, physical exercise and continuous learning are two of the best ways to do it — and competitive swimming provides both.
- Physical exercise: Physical exercise stimulates your brain, promotes better coordination and puts you closer in touch with cues such as when to go faster and how to manage your breathing. The more you move — especially when participating in a new, rigorous exercise program — the more abilities you can master.
- Continuous learning: Even if you're a seasoned swimmer, you'll soon find yourself learning new skills and strengthening existing ones when you join a competitive swim program. This continuous learning nourishes your brain. According to the Alzheimer's Association, lifelong learning can even help reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
10. You'll Learn Transferable Skills
One of the most significant reasons you should start competitive swimming is that these mental, social and physical benefits of swimming apply to other areas of your life.
- Mental: The self-discipline, time-management and goal-tracking you learn through competitive swimming can benefit all other areas of your life, like school or your profession.
- Social: The more practice you have navigating different social settings, the easier it will be to engage with new people. Competitive swimming will help you learn the art of compromise and sportsmanship, an asset in everyday life.
- Physical: Regular exercise will help you stay positive and feel healthier while strengthening the muscles you need to tackle other areas of your health and fitness goals. Competitive swimming promotes a healthier lifestyle, which lessens your chance for diseases and keeps your mind and body strong.
Get Your Competitive Gear at All American Swim
Competitive swimming is fun and can help you achieve a happier, healthier and more social lifestyle. If you're ready to dive into competitive swimming, All American Swim has the competition swimwear and training gear you need to succeed. At All American Swim, we carry an extensive inventory of products from the top brands in the industry, so you can always find what you need to achieve your swimming goals. Visit our blog to learn more about competitive swimming and pick up some new gear today!