Benefits of Swimming: Improved Blood Flow Boosts Cognitive Function

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | 11:56 pm

Physical benefits of swimming are obvious when you look at athletes like 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Those well toned muscles, physical strength, and sculpted physique are always part of what is known as a “swimmer’s body.” But there is one characteristic most swimmers possess that isn’t visible and not often discussed, and that is better brain health.

Waterwork Aquatics knows that swimming helps people’s cognitive abilities, along with many other health benefits that go along with being an active swimmer, and wants to get the people of Pasadena into their programs, and their pools, so that everyone can enjoy the boost that this fun activity can give those who participate.

Aerobic exercise is not only good for the heart, but has also been proven good for the brain. Exercise improves brain function, and can even help repair damaged brain cells. Certain aerobic exercises, like swimming, can provide additional benefits by affecting neurotransmitters that influence a person’s mood and increase the production of stress-reducing hormones.

For swimmers, the boost in blood flow can help improve memory, mood, clarity, and focus. In 2014 a study found that swimming around in a deep pool increases blood flow to the brain. Participants were immersed in water up to the level of the heart, and when compared to on land, blood flow was higher to the brain. The blood flowed to the middle cerebral arteries 14 percent more than those on land, and blood flowed to the posterior cerebral arteries 9 percent more.

Swimming also releases endorphins, which are thought to be helpful in managing stress, anxiety and moods. Swimming can aid with tension relief, and can even help counter depressive symptoms.

“Swimming actually can help reduce depression for several reasons, one of which is that it helps stimulate production of brain chemicals that elevate mood and outlook,” said Dr. David Coppel, Director of Neuropsychological Services and Research at the University of Washington Sports Concussion program in a recent interview.

Some forms of brain damage can even be reversed with swimming via hippocampal neurogenesis, or replacing of lost neurons. Research has found the hippocampus shrinks in depressed individuals, which is believed to be the cause of mental health issues often associated with depression and this can be a real problems for many young people entering into their teenage years.

Swimming also activates both side of the brain and all four lobes simultaneously, which can lead to increased cognition, and an easier time learning. A recent study found children who have learned how to swim at a young age reached developmental milestones earlier than those who did not. Milestones like coordination, and visual-motor skills like cutting paper, coloring in and drawing lines and shapes, and many mathematical-related activities.

If this isn’t enough for you then add in the fact that it is just plain fun to swim and Waterworks Aquatics wants everyone to know just how fun it can be. Don’t wait, get your kids involved today and help them build a healthy future with a strong body, strong mind, and an ability that can be taken anywhere that will last them a lifetime.

Waterworks Aquatics is located at 2290 E Foothill Blvd, in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 836-1200 or visit










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