Outdoor swimming has been long considered as a bracing and invigorating form of exercise, which scientists are now saying can improve not only physical health, but also mental health. Several studies worldwide have been conducted on the restorative benefits of this type of exercise. Whether you swim in the sea, a pond, or even an outdoor pool, there are a a lot of reasons why you should start doing it.
According to one study by Czech scientists, regular open water swimming can boost your immune system. The subjects of the study were asked to swim in outdoor water three times per week, while any changes to their immune systems were closely monitored. The study revealed that jumping into cold water acts as a shock to your body, making the body respond by releasing more white blood cells to counteract the attack.
Aside from finding an increased white blood cell count, the scientists discovered that outdoor swimming also improves circulation. This is due to the heart pumping more blood to your organs as a reaction to cold temperature. As circulation gets better, impurities are more easily flushed away, leaving you with a healthy, glowing complexion.
In particular, seawater can do wonders for your skin. Research published in the Skin Research and Technology journal reveals that sea water can help remedy skin conditions, such as psoriasis. This may be due to the salt and potassium chloride in the water, which promotes healing, The Scotsman reports. The British Association of Dermatologists has also found in their studies that symptoms of childhood eczema are relieved when the child regularly goes for sea swimming sessions.
According to The Telegraph, physiological stresses can also be improved by open water swimming. A study published in the Journal of Physiology reports that fast breathing and heart rates induced by stress can be lowered by short periods of immersion in cold water. Outdoor swimming has also been found to effectively stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin that keep you in a good mood.