Swimming: Good for your brain and body

LOVE swimming? It's not only good exercise that will give you an all-body workout, but studies have shown that it's good for your brain too.

Trainer Lennox Richards says if swimming is the exercise you choose to either keep fit, maintain fitness, or lose weight, you should heed these guidelines.

1. Swimming is an excellent workout because you're moving your whole body against the resistance of the water. It will keep your heart rate up and take stress off your body.

2. Swimming is good for building endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness

3. Swimming helps you maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart and lungs

4. Swimming provides an all-over body workout as nearly all of your muscles are used.

"Swimming will also help with stress and tension and is a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise," Richards said.

"It also helps improve coordination, balance, and posture as well as makes you more flexible."

He said just 30 minutes in the pool three times weekly can boost your energy levels and increase your metabolic rate.

Also, swimming may be helping your health more than you thought.

A small study from the University of Western Australia School of Sport Science in 2014 suggests that immersing the body in water to the level of the heart increases blood flow through the brain's cerebral arteries, thus improving vascular health and cognitive function.

The study results showed a 14 per cent blood flow increase to the middle cerebral artery and a nine per cent blood flow increase to the posterior cerebral artery when subjects were immersed in water.

The findings point to potential benefits of aquatic-based activities.

But before you dive in, Richards said to:

1. Make sure you know how to swim.

2. Warm up and stretch.

3. Keep hydrated.

4. Don't overdo it if you're just starting out.

ALAISHA THOMAS

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