Tag Archives: exercise

Why Swimmers Have a Higher Self-Esteem

There has never been a better time to get into swimming. Really.

In a world of constant distraction, screen-gazing and information fatigue, it’s no wonder that our psychological health is under threat. Body image is currently at an all-time low, with 80% of women admitting that they don’t like how they look, whilst 34% of men are dissatisfied with their physical appearance. Combine that with the fact that rates of anxiety and depression in children and young people have reportedly risen by 70% in the last 25 years. Our self-esteem, or ‘a person’s overall sense of their value or worth’, clearly needs attention – and one solution is swimming.

So why do swimmers have a higher self-esteem?

There’s proof that the natural change in hormones which occurs during swimming has a major effect on both body and mind. Swimmer’s bodies start to release more endorphins, because swimming is one of the best all-round exercise regimes. Many of our instructors report getting out of the pool with big grins on their faces, having done a mere thirty minutes of exercise! So, if you can commit to swimming a few times a week, just imagine how you will feel all the time – AMAZING. This natural endorphin high leads to a more positive mental attitude, as well as happiness.

However, this isn’t the only link between swimming’s improvement of the body and a raise in self-worth. A regular swim not only builds endurance, it also tones muscles, improves strength and provides an all-over body workout. By making swimming the basis of your fitness or exercise regime, you’ll see your body shape change naturally. This will do wonders for self-confidence – when you feel you look good, you’ll automatically feel great at the same time.

Aside from the link between body and mind, those that swim also gain a sense of achievement. This particularly applies to children, as swimming races encourage a natural sense of competitiveness, which will stay with them for life. Soon, you can guarantee that medal after medal will be won, as swimmers find themselves standing on the podium after all their hard work. This leads to far more natural, rather than enforced optimism, as a strong sense of self-belief becomes the norm. This goes hand-in-hand with a shift to being more self-assured, which will positively impact on other facets of life, including the achievement of goals and dreams.

Swimming can help distance us from the stresses and strains of daily life that can prevent self-reflection, as it creates more independence and a self-starting mentality. As swimming isn’t always a group activity, a session in the pool gives you the ability to spend time processing your individual thoughts.

It’s a fact that being taught, and subsequently mastering any skill, builds confidence. However, swimming in particular provides the added bonus of learning to be in control of an environment which can potentially be unsafe. Once grasped, this makes every swimmer feel as though they can achieve anything! For children, this new found confidence translates into the classroom, the playground, the football pitch and almost any other part of their lives. Who wouldn’t want this for their little one?

If you or any of your children struggle with low self-confidence or self-esteem, why not give swimming a try? Your mental and physical health will thank you for taking just thirty minutes out of your busy week to visit your local swimming pool. If you’d like to find out more about self-esteem and its link to swimming, please click here, or here.

Have you felt swimming raise your self-esteem? Let us know in the comments.

The Ultimate Guide to Swimming: Every Stroke Explained By Eight-Times World Record Holder Mark Foster

Eight-times World Record holder Mark Foster explains the physical benefits of swimming. If you’ve ever wondered what muscles you work when you swim, or what happens to your body as you race through the water, read on to get up to speed on the impact of this super-sport. 

There’s no denying swimming is a seriously energetic sport. It uses just about every muscle in your body and increases your aerobic fitness, too. Even better, it burns energy while supporting your joints making it a great way to get in shape.

Yet despite all these benefits according to the Amateur Swimming Association, a staggering 50% of 7 to 11 year olds can’t swim the length of a 25m pool and as many as 9 million adults in the UK can’t swim at all.

Naturally, I’m all for swimming and it’s great to know that despite these figures, 2.13 million Brits are keen to learn to swim. But I’m not sure everyone knows just how good swimming can be for your health and fitness. So here’s a breakdown of exactly what happens to your body when you go swimming.

What muscles will I work when I go swimming?

All strokes

Before we get into the detail, whichever stroke you choose, you’ll be working all of these muscles:

  • Core abdominal (stomach) muscles
  • Lower back muscles

These muscles work together to keep your body steady and streamline in the water

  • Deltoid (forms the rounded contour of the shoulder) and other shoulder muscles

These muscles help the hands have proper entry into the water and extend your reach

  • Forearm muscles

These help propel you through the water

  • Upper back muscles

These muscles also help to stabilise your torso in the water

  • Glutes and hamstrings

Help move you forward and balance your body

Front Crawl

Front Crawl is the stroke for speed – it moves you fast through the water and generates the most force.

What’s happening?

When you’re using front crawl, your arms are pushing and pulling underwater, your torso is working hard to keep you steady and rotating to give you a longer stroke. Your hip flexors (at the top of your thighs) are engaged too, to maintain a steady kick.

Backstroke

Less intensive than front crawl, backstroke is a great recovery option.

What’s happening?

As the name suggests, it works your back. Your lats are engaged – that’s the wide muscle on either side of your back, beneath your shoulder blade. This muscle is pulling your arm under the water and then back to the surface again. In addition, your hamstrings (back of your thigh) and glutes (bum muscles) are engaged to propel you through the water.

Breaststroke

Synchronisation is key here – having the arms in time with the legs. This stroke will work all your muscle groups equally.

What’s happening?

Your shoulders are working hard to move your arms from behind to in front of you. The chest and your lats then work together lift your chest out of the water as you take a breath. Your legs are doing a frog kick that’s similar to leaping off the floor from a squat, working your glutes, quads (front of thigh), hamstring (back of thigh) and your calves, too.

Butterfly

Butterfly is a super-powerful stroke that will build strength and boost your metabolism.

What’s happening?

Both arms move simultaneously, working your shoulders, lats and arms. Your core and lower back muscles go into overdrive to stabilise your core in the water and lift your body out of the water, and your glutes ensure your legs move as one, like a dolphin.

Phew! It’s energising just thinking about it. As far as an all-over body workout goes, it doesn’t get much better. Add to that increased lung capacity from taking huge breaths frequently and precisely, and swimming helps to improve your aerobic performance, too.

If you’re keen to get in shape by swimming, Swimming Nature offers premium tuition and fast results. Our award-winning technology and bespoke programmes ensure you and your kids develop precision techniques and complete mastery of the water. Whether you’re looking for yourself or your kids, we cater for all abilities from beginners to triathletes, and our exclusive Mark Foster Programme takes advanced swimmers to the next level. For more information, explore our programmes today.