Alergias respiratórias: conheça as causas e como se prevenir

Discover the benefits of swimming for body and mind

A natural effect of aging is the reduction of aerobic fitness: our ability to engage in moderate-intensity, long-duration exercise. With the practice of swimmingit is possible to reduce this deterioration by increasing the welfare and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Swimming is not the only exercise that impacts the maintenance of aerobic fitness, but it offers an additional stimulus to the body. When the body is inside the pool, it suffers a pressure from the aquatic environment that is greater than that felt in the terrestrial environment.

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“Among the alterations in the respiratory function, due to the action of this pressure, there is an increase in the work of inspiration”, points out Marcelo Papoti, professor at the School of Physical Education and Sport at University of Sao Paulo (USP). The effect of this is an improvement in breathing capacity. Discover, below, other benefits of swimming for the body and mind.

Doctor Júlio Labote, 56, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2020. For him, swimming, associated with physiotherapy, was the way to prepare for surgery and recovery. “For me, who am overweight, it helped a lot not to overload any joints and didn’t bring me any other problems”, he points out.

Exercise in the aquatic environment is ideal for those who are overweight or have joint limitations, since the lower limbs are little used. “The impact during swimming is substantially reduced or eliminated”, says Marcelo.

According to Marcelo Papoti, research carried out with groups of different age groups, from babies to the elderly, point to a better performance of the motor and cognitive abilities of those who practice swimming. Activities such as sitting, standing, walking, cooking and even buttoning buttons are some practical examples of developing motor skills.

Generally, physical activities have an impact on attention and memory, explains Marcelo. “But what has been verified is that swimming, it is not known exactly why, has a potentiating effect on this”, he explains. One of the possible explanations, he says, is the improvement in cerebral blood flow, favored by the pressure that water exerts on the body.

Although it is mostly an aerobic activity, swimming also brings muscle gains. Unlike the lower limbs of the body, which are stimulated when walking and climbing stairs, for example, the upper limbs are not as demanded in everyday life. According to swimming teacher Douglas Rodrigues, the practice has the potential to balance this difference.

He explains that, although it does not compare to the bodybuilding, swimming can also lead to mass gain. The effects can be seen in everyday life. “Over time, I realized, for example, that I could get out of the pool by myself”, recalls Júlio Labote.

Weight training and swimming, however, are not competitors. For Marcelo, the two activities can be practiced simultaneously, as well as other modalities. “Some studies have shown that the bone mineral density of a swimmer who doesn’t do any complementary activity is no better than that of a person who doesn’t have any activity,” he recalls.

In general, the practice of physical activities promotes the release of endorphins, a hormone that stimulates feelings of pleasure and well-being. In the case of aquatic modalities, the sensation of muscle loosening caused by immersion brings relief, as we remain standing or sitting for a long time of the day.

Swimming pools with warmer water also contribute to relaxation. Blood vessels can dilate in hot water. As a consequence, the body experiences a reduction in blood pressure, which brings a feeling of relaxation.

According to Douglas, every practice has benefits that are not related to the activity itself. As the behaviors of each one are different, the psychosocial relationship that the person establishes with the practice also changes. So, psychological benefits can be observed in different ways.

Júlio explains that, in his case, there is a great feeling of well-being after exercising. “I swim at night. It’s a good time, I arrive more relaxed, more rested.”

The feeling of relaxation can also bring sleep benefits. However, if you train in the morning and feel excessively tired, it may be better to switch to the evening period. There are also reports of increased appetite after the practice, although, according to Marcelo, there is no scientific consensus that supports these perceptions. In any case, a nutritionist can assist in the elaboration of a food plan adjusted to the demand for food after training.

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