How getting in the water can improve physical and mental health
While the physical boosts of swimming are widely documented, the mental health benefits of getting into the water are less well-known, yet equally as impactful.
Regular swimmers have a 28% lower risk of early death and a 41% lower risk of death due to heart diseases and stroke, according to a report by Swim England's Swimming and Health Commission in 2017.
In 2019, nearly half a million Brits living with mental health diagnoses said that swimming had reduced the number of visits to a medical health professional, according to Swim England.
Open water swimming in particular -- with its naturally colder temperatures -- is increasingly understood to have mental health benefits.
For those willing to brave the chill, the feelgood hormone dopamine is released by getting into cold water, ensuring an endorphin rush that can last hours after drying off.
Research into cold water's anti-inflammatory properties by the University of Portsmouth in the UK has reaped a growing body of anecdotal evidence that it can dampen the inflammatory responses that cause anxiety and depression.
Just being in a so-called "blue environment," close to the ocean or a body of water, is known to lower stress responses.