Swimming is the perfect summer and all around the year sport: when the mercury rises, what better way to cool off than to take a refreshing dip? It doesn’t matter whether it’s at the beach, river or pool, the long sunny days are a perfect excuse to take to the water. But swimming isn’t just fun and a great way to cool down, it’s also very good for your health, and while you’re splashing about, you’re actually doing wonders for your body. Take a look at some of the reasons why swimming might be considered the best sport:

  • The buoyancy of the water counteracts the force of gravity, making swimming a perfect low-impact sport that puts little stress on bones and joints.

  • If you swim for at least 20 minutes straight, keeping up a constant rhythm and speed, it is an aerobic exercise, which helps improve general fitness, stimulates the metabolism and burns fat.

  • The fact that it’s an aerobic exercise also means it improves cardiopulmonary capacity, while the effort needed to overcome water resistance tones muscles.

  • It’s a great way to burn calories: an hour of swimming burns 500 calories.

  • Our body’s natural position is upright, but when we swim, we turn it horizontal; this helps move respiratory secretions, and improves breathing.

  • Swimming has been shown to be beneficial for asthma sufferers, as it encourages lung function and breathing control.

  • Swimming balances blood pressure and normalises pulse rate.

  • It works the body’s motor coordination. Over two-thirds of the body musculature is worked when we swim, including both the lower and upper body, trunk and head, and arms and legs are forced to make a balanced effort.

  • Swimming also strengthens joints and improves posture by improving the position of the spinal column. This makes it an excellent exercise for people with back problems.

  • Last, but not least: anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a great athlete for swimming to be beneficial – and fun, too – so come on in the water’s lovely!