Can swimming help with depression and anxiety?

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you may have heard that exercise helps manage symptoms. Is this also the case with swimming?

Anxiety and depression both benefit from professional support. It is possible to manage the symptoms and find relief. Self-care in the form of nutrition and exercise can also help.

Swimming for Anxiety and Depression is a science-backed strategy to help you cope with symptoms. But there are a few things you might want to keep in mind before you start.

Studies show that swimming can be a powerful tool for managing symptoms of depression.

In a 2020 study, a 10-week swim program helps participants reduce fatigue, anger and symptoms of depression. It also improved mood and feelings of well-being.

A thorough review of several studies also found that swimming significantly reduces symptoms of depression and improves mood. In two of the studies, participants reported nearly 80% improvement in symptoms.

A few case reports also report that open water swimming may help some people with major depressive disorder reduce the need for antidepressant medications after following a consistent program.

Older adults who may have difficulty swimming can still see improvement in symptoms of depression to engage in regular aquatic exercise.

Evidence indicates that regular physical activity, in general, improves your mood, helps you cope with stress and reduces your signs of anxiety. Swimming is no exception.

Research shows that swimming consistently helps reduce signs of anxiety by helping you manage the stress response. The release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine also help you feel more at ease.

Swimming can also help you feel more grounded because, in addition to having the benefits of physical activity, it can engage your senses, which can help you manage anxiety.

If you’re trying to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, a regular swimming routine can help.

It is strongly advised to consult a medical professional before embarking on an exercise routine, especially if you are not used to having one. They can help you develop a personalized plan that meets your needs.

As a first step, consider practicing swimming during two and a half hours a week.

Research suggests that each session should last between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on your fitness level and needs.

If possible for you, try to swim at a moderate to brisk pace. You can swim to your maximum capacity for 30 seconds, then swim at a slow pace for 1 minute. If that’s not possible, low-intensity swimming may also provide mental health benefits. You might just want to add a few more minutes per week.

Swimming in cold water may also provide additional benefits for your mood.

Living with symptoms of anxiety or depression can impact all areas of your life. Anxiety and depressive disorders often require professional support to avoid escalation of symptoms.

Although self-care is key to managing your mood, seeking help from a mental health professional is highly recommended.

Traditional treatments may include psychotherapy and, in some cases, medication.

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