Swimming as a cure for stress

Fitness & Wellness
Written by: Marco Borreca at 12 April '18 0
You are reading: Swimming as a cure for stress

Early mornings, cars, traffic, smog, computers, deadlines, queues, rushing about, shopping, delays…

The list could go on for hours, but that would just make everything even more stressful.

Stress is one of the main causes of psychological ailments like anxiety, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, tiredness or irritability; it can also lead to physical illnesses like arterial hypertension, cardiac problems and ulcers and can even damage your immune system.1

Swimming to combat stress.

Swimming can be an effective and helpful ally.

Even before we are born, our body is immersed in the fluid in the amniotic sack that cradles and nurtures us.

The only noise we can really hear is our mother’s heartbeat. Well, entering the water is a bit like going back to our origins. We are gently cradled in a noise-free environment and can hear our own heartbeat: a bit of peace and quiet at last!

Leave your worries behind and do not even bring your cell phone along in your swim bag, place it safely away in a locker.

Make sure swimming is the time when you “pull out the plug” and leave all the pressures of everyday life behind as you enter the water.

How swimming affects our brain.

A recent study carried out on approximately 40,000 people published by the British Journal of Psychiatry has shown that aerobic activity, particularly swimming, helps get rid of stress, eases anxiety and relieves all kinds of nervous complaints.

Swimming helps produce endorphins that improve our mood and increase our resistance to pain. Regular swimming can also help relieve tension and depression, thanks to the deep, rhythmic massaging effect of the water.

Your entire organism enters a deep state of relaxation, improving and increasing your concentration.

You will also sleep better after the vigorous exertion of swimming and the way it helps relax your muscles.1

Swimming tips.

If you are an experienced and/or confident swimmer, go to the pool at least twice a week for no less than 40 minutes.

If possible do it first thin in the morning before anything else, otherwise the evening is fine before heading home.

If, on the other hand, you are relatively new to the sport and do not feel confident enough to swim on your own, join a swim class with a good instructor.

The tips and advice you receive and the regular swimming you will be “forced to do” when you attend your class (twice a week is ideal) will not just improve your swim stroke, it will also make you a more confident and motivated person.

Suggested exercise

After you have finished swimming, lie stretched out on your back in a “star” position, place a tube behind your knees and neck. Stretch your back as far as possible, particularly your lumbar region, relax for at least a minute (with your eyes closed if you prefer) and let yourself be gently rocked by the oscillating movement of the small waves and the noise of the water.

Have a nice shower, a good meal and get ready for our next article!    


British Journal of Psychiatry
Photo credit: Stephane Kempinaire/KMSP

Written by:

Marco Borreca

Marco Borreca was born in Milan in 1985. After his competitive swimming career, he continued his sports studies graduating from the faculty of Preventive and Adaptive Motor Sciences in Pavia. He has been working as a swimming/ fitness instructor and rehabilitation expert at various sports centres since he was very young. He mainly focuses on using water for recovering motor skills in the case of sports injuries and disabilities. He currently works for a municipal sports centre as the Head of Fitness and also works for a private practice as a kinesiologist.