There are many sports and recreational activities we participate in when we’re young.
Some of those sports we continue into our middle years, but there aren’t many we can, and do, keep doing for our entire lives.
And of these lifelong sports, can any match the many and varied physical and psychological benefits of open water swimming?
Here are five reasons why open water swimming is a sport for life.
Being submerged in water takes the pressure off your body and frees it from gravity, making you nearly weightless.
This means you can get a great workout without adding a huge amount of pressure and stress on your body.
Just because swimming is a low-impact sport doesn’t mean it can’t be tough and challenging.
Studies have found that swimming is the ideal exercise for those dealing with osteoarthritis, leg injuries and those trying to lose weight.
Unlike pool swimming, where access to pools can be limited by location and time of day, open water swimming is easily accessible and almost always open.
In fact, more than 85 per cent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast, with that number jumping up when you take into account lakes, creeks, dams or rivers.
What’s more, you can get involved with open water swimming at any age.
Listen: Annette Dunphy, 81, talks to Andre on the ONSHORE Podcast about her lifetime of open water swimming at Melbourne’s Brighton Baths
Swimming of any kind is a cardio activity and with that comes benefits to your heart health.
When open water swimming your heart rate increases to move blood around your body more quickly, and over time, this helps to strengthen your heart.
Studies have also found that over time swimming also helps to reduce blood pressure.
Not only is open water swimming easily accessible to most but it is also incredibly cheap.
Most open-water swimming groups cost nothing to join, you just rock up at the beach, enjoy a swim and then enjoy a post-swim coffee together.
Looking for guided swims? Most coach-led group swims are incredibly reasonable to join with most being under $20.
Open water swimming gives you an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and become a part of a community bigger than yourself.
Open water swimmers are some of the friendliest faces you will find, they are always happy to help another swimmer and love sharing their open-water swimming experiences.
Almost all open water swimmers’ favourite part about their regular swim groups is the post-swim coffee and chat.
Studies have shown regular face-to-face socialisation helps to minimise stress and anxiety and increase overall well-being.
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