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Swimming - Stress relief and exercise in one

Life can be stressful at times when you consider everything we go through each day. Find one particular activity which is beneficial to you not only physically, but to bust the stress right out of your day.

One suggestion for a fantastic stress buster is swimming. Not only is swimming a great stress reliever, it’s a perfect recreational and fitness outlet as well. Most cities have at least one indoor swimming pool, or at the very least you can find one in a neighborhood not far from your home. Indoor pools allow you to keep up with your stress-relieving activity even in inclement weather.

Warming up

As with any type of exercise, be sure to do your warm-up exercises. Start with a few stretches before hitting the water. Once in the pool, take an easy lap to get those muscles prepared for your more demanding laps to follow. Neglecting warm-up exercises can result in pulled muscles or other injuries which will in no way help your stress levels.

You may choose to sign up for swimming classes at your local swimming center. They are usually available from beginner to advanced levels and the instructors will be able to assist you in choosing the level appropriate for you. If you don’t need lessons you can consider joining an aquatic program such as aqua-fit, or simply going to do laps when you feel like it.

During times of more prominent stress, why not add some extra pool time. Break away from your usual swimming routine while using different techniques. Changing it a bit, switching from breast stroke to back stroke for example, will result in your laps giving you more of a workout. It also gives you the opportunity to be more aggressive as you push those stressors out of the way and into the water, so to speak.

Pay attention to your breath

Paying attention to the way you breathe while you’re swimming is another challenge. When you become stressed about something, your breathing tends to be more rapid. Making a conscious effort to breathe at a slower but regular pace will help reduce those feelings of stress and anxiety.

Once you have fulfilled your personal quota for stress-busting laps, take one or two last laps at a slower pace to start your cool-down exercises. This will allow your muscles to return to a more relaxed state which can decrease the likelihood of sore muscles the following day.

Cooling down

After leaving the pool area, repeat some stretching exercises for optimum relaxation of your muscles. You may also want to leave a day of rest between any stress-busting routines in order to permit your body to recover.

As you can see, swimming can be the perfect stress-busting activity. Not only will you be working those stressors and anxieties out of your system, but you will get a great physical workout. There’s nothing like taking care of two important aspects of your life at the same time!