Modern life is very good for making us exceptionally stressed, and at times it feels like we are always on the go. We all know that we should be taking more time out of our busy lives to nurture ourselves and relax a little bit, however that is easier said than done.

It’s important to make time in your life to allow yourself to burn off some of life’s stresses – if you don’t then you are at risk of suffering from depression or even a nervous breakdown. The simple pastime of swimming is a brilliant way of casting off the stresses and strains of the day, and in this article we are going to tell you why it is so good for you. Read on for more information:

 

It Encourages You to Stretch

Stretching is one of the most important things you can do to relieve stress and strain from your body. This is an excellent way of reducing tension, and it is what yoga and Pilates are built on. Don’t underestimate the power of a good stretch – and swimming is really good for this.

When you swim, your body naturally stretches to reach your swimming strokes while the water supports you. Using your body and your muscles in this way is an excellent stress reliever and you will leave the swimming pool far more relaxed than you were when you went in.

 

It’ll Take Your Mind Elsewhere

Sometimes it’s really difficult to stop thinking – we spend our lives obsessing, worrying and over analyzing things. It’s so important to give your mind a rest from these activities, and swimming is really good at taking your mind away from everything.

The repetitive nature of what you are doing is slightly hypnotic, and you will find that your mind is emptied of worries, even if it’s just temporary! Having this little bit of headspace regularly is vital for a healthy mind and you will come back to your tasks with renewed vigor and energy.

 

It’ll Improve Your Overall Fitness Levels

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise that there is, as it is so good for improving overall fitness. It is cardiovascular which means your heart will get a good workout, and it is also toning which is great for muscle strength. There has been lots of research into the relationship between fitness and happiness, and it is generally accepted that there is a direct link.

Exercise promotes the brain’s natural production of serotonin, which is an essential hormone that we need to stay happy. Swimming is a great way of releasing those natural endorphins and therefore promoting a relaxed and healthy mental state. Because swimming is low impact, many people prefer it because it doesn’t make too many demands on the body.

If you are suffering from stress, then we don’t need to tell you how awful the symptoms can be. The important thing is that you seek ways of beating the stress before it takes hold. Swimming may well be the answer that you are looking for – give it a go!

 

Author: Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for, B-Rod Pools, specialists is designing elegant and original pools. She loves listening to music and enjoys attending concerts of her favourite artists. You can reach her via Twitter @Nancy_Baker_.

Stretching or Yoga

I am pleased to publish this article with the permission of Terry Laughlin, swimming coach and founder of Total Immersion.

Yoga and Swimming

I’m searching for information on stretching with focus on freestyle swimming.

I’ve found in Total Immersion, the Revolutionary Way to Swim better, Faster, and Easier some exercises and two stretches for the front of the shoulder and two stretches for the back of the shoulder.

I’m definitely interested in shoulder stretches but also back and leg stretches that are appropriate. I’ve noticed with TI swimming a definite change to the muscles in my upper back, and I would like to be sure that lack of correct stretching does not cause a physical problem.
The effects or benefits of stretching are commonly thought to be relief of tightness in muscles and increase of range of motion in joints.  Over time I’ve come to view the question of stretching and its effects differently, and my view today is colored by my age – 59, a time when my muscles seem a bit more susceptible to injury or the occurrence of “hot spots” or knots.

My stretching activities now are more geared to overall health and feeling good at all times, while also–as an athlete–trying to keep my muscles ‘tuned for action.’

I rarely do the kind of swim-specific stretching I did from my teens to my 30s that was illustrated in the original TI book. This focused on muscles like the pectorals, triceps, lats. When I was younger I regularly experienced post-swim soreness in those muscles but that was because my swimming relied on higher arm-forces. By using the drag-evading and whole-body-propelling techniques of Perpetual Motion Freestyle, I no longer experience that kind of soreness.

I deal with more general tension–not uncommon in middle-aged-athletes–by warming up more gently and thoroughly before a practice. Also by having one or two practices a week done entirely at ‘recovery pace’ and devoted to higher levels of technique.

I often get knots, particularly in the muscles around my left scapula, because I tore the rotator cuff in that shoulder in an auto accident in 1996 so those muscles compensate to keep my shoulder stable. I need occasional massage, adjustments and acupuncture to break open those knots and relieve tension.

But virtually all of my prior active stretching has been replaced by yoga, which feels both holistic and integrative in a way those stretches were not. Yoga not only keeps me feeling more supple–in my spine and joints as well as in muscles. It also keeps me strong in an integrative way. That is, rather than working on isolated muscles, it strengthens them as they work–in combination and by using them as I do outside of yoga.

Finally, it brings the calming and centering effects of meditation. I’m certain the combination of yoga and swimming is among the most healthful things I will do for the rest of my life.

I was involved in the planning of the Yoga for Swimming and More DVD with Susan Jacque who is one of my teachers, and can strongly recommend it both to complement swimming and as a way to become acquainted with yoga.

For more information on Total Immersion and Terry Laughlin, visit:

http://www.totalimmersion.net/ and

http://www.swimwellblog.com/