The health benefits of swimming

Posted on by Melanie Kuo. This entry was posted in Being Active. Bookmark the permalink.

Summer may be cooling down, but that doesn’t mean fun in the water must stop! A low-impact and fun activity, swimming is a great sport that can be practiced year-round.

Aside from being a fun way to cool down in the water, this sport has a number of health benefits for those who swim actively. As an activity, swimming builds cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, as it strengthens one’s lung capacity and requires use of almost all muscles.

With this in mind, swimming is a great option for people with asthma, as it helps individuals control their breathing. Those with arthritis can improve their affected joints by swimming, and can decrease pain associated with osteoarthritis as a whole. For older adults, swimming and other forms of water exercise have been shown to decrease development of disabilities. Swimming has even been shown to regulate blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.

Many pools and swimming areas are both available locally and open to the public, and classes are often available for individuals of all ages learning to swim.

The health benefits of swimming don’t stop with physical health. Studies have also demonstrated that swimming can improve mental health, reduce anxiety for those with fibromyalgia, decrease depression, and improve one’s mood. Families with children who have developmental disabilities have expressed increased family connections through swimming and other recreational activities, and swimming can serve as a great way to relax and unwind after a long day. Lastly, swimming has also been shown to prevent and treat illnesses in pregnant women, such as gestational diabetes. 

If you’re looking for a place to dive into swimming, UW’s Intramural Activities Building (IMA) is opening a brand-new pool, scheduled to open in fall 2023! This brand new 14-lane pool has a number of access points, as well as direct access to the IMA’s new universal locker rooms.

Whether you’re an avid swimmer or just starting to learn the basics, there’s a place for you to make a splash at the new IMA pool. 

Membership at the IMA is available to UW faculty, staff, and retirees on a single-visit, 5-visit, quarterly, or annual basis. UW employees and retirees are also eligible for a free one-week trial, which is good for 7 visits and up to 7 days. Information regarding membership costs and pricing options can be found here

Alternatively, the city of Seattle has a number of pools available to the public. Options close to the UW Seattle campus include the Queen Anne, Evans, Meadowbrook, and Mounger pools. Pool fees can be paid on a single visit basis, and passes can be purchased online or at the pool’s cashier desk. 

Regardless of your experience, swimming is a sport that can be practiced at all speed and skill levels. Be sure to always practice safety by following instructions and guidelines associated with your pool or swimming area of choice.

Contributed by Melanie Kuo, marketing and graphic design intern for UWHR Employee Experience. Melanie is a senior at UW majoring in Informatics with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction. She loves creating and sharing stories through graphic and UX (user experience) design, written content and other media.