10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Swim Every Day

Swimming is one of life’s best simple pleasures. You can swim in a pool or in a lake, or even in the ocean. And you can bob around leisurely or do laps, whichever you feel like.

But there are positives and negatives involved with swimming, depending on how, when, where, and how long you do it. Here are 10 ways swimming affects your body in ways both good and bad.

You may expose yourself to too much sun

We need sunshine for vital vitamin D for our bodies, but it only takes a little to do the job. Long-term exposure to sunshine can cause skin damage that can turn cancerous if not caught early.

If you swim outside, whether at the beach or at the pool, constant application of sunscreen is an absolute must. If you are susceptible to sun damage, you may be better off going to an indoor facility rather than risk it.

Related: 6 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Skip Sunscreen

Your lungs will become stronger

Like with any other aerobic exercise, the more you swim, the longer you’ll be able to do it without running out of breath. This is the reason that professional and Olympic swimmers have fantastic lung capacity on top of other physical fitness.

Runners experience the same increase in lung capacity, but there’s a difference in the water: you don’t have the rigorous pull of gravity affecting you as strongly and your lungs can expand freely.

Your stress levels will decrease

Whether you splash around in the shallow end or do laps in the deep end, swimming has a positive effect on the mind. Exercise in any form lets the brain release endorphins, a chemical related to feelings of well being and elation.

But swimming lets you get that feeling without as much physical work as other forms of exercise. Even sitting in a tub will relieve stress. This is why people with chronic stresses and ailments are often prescribed “water therapy” as part of their treatment. 

Your hair may become damaged

The chemicals in a typical swimming pool can also do damage to your hair. Chlorine is a harsh chemical and can even turn your hair greenish in color.

But there are ways to protect your hair in the water. Wear a swim cap if you plan to keep your head in the water for very long. Also, you can rinse your hair with plain water before and after being in a pool to help protect your hair.

Your back will feel better

Swimming is as close as we can get to weightlessness without going into space. This is why astronauts train in water tanks for learning how to work without gravity. Gravity is not our body’s friend, and our backs get the worst of the deal.

But swimming lets our back stretch and move in all directions, alleviating a lot of stresses and pains that come from just existing. Whether you pound the pavement all day or sit in a chair at a desk, your back could use some water relaxation.

Your eyes may become irritated

This is less due to actual swimming than it is to where you swim. Whether it’s the chemicals in a pool or the salty content of the ocean, your eyes can get red and sore very quickly.

This is why racing swimmers wear goggles: not to see better but to protect their eyes in the water. And if you wear contact lenses, you run the risk of trapping bacteria in your cornea and developing an eye infection. So, you should never wear your contacts in the water.

You will sleep much better at night

Exercise in any of its forms promotes good sleep. Even as little as half an hour of exercise three times a week can improve your ability to go to sleep and stay asleep all night.

Swimming teaches you to breathe deeply and manage your oxygen intake better, which are both very important for good sleep. Because of this, swimming can be very beneficial for people who have sleep-related issues. 

RELATED: 11 Myths About Sleep That Have Been Debunked By Science

Your nails can become brittle

Your fingernails are made of the same material as your hair, believe it or not. This means that just as chlorinated water makes your hair dry, it does the same to your nails.

You may wear gloves while washing dishes, but you probably don’t wear gloves while swimming. To protect your nails, you would do well to keep polish on them to protect them from the harsh water. It’s better than letting the chemicals get to your nails.

You can lose weight efficiently

Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do if you’re trying to lose weight. Some people swear by swimming in the morning first thing before breakfast; your body has no choice but to burn from its fat stores.

Swimming is also one of the few exercises you can do that actually makes you feel refreshed afterwards. So, if you can swim as part of your workout routine, by all means do so.

You can develop skin problems

Even though we’re always told to keep our skin hydrated, swimming in a pool is not a good way to go about it. The chemicals in the pool can dry you out, causing your skin to crack and even to develop rashes. Swimmer’s rash is a real thing, though it’s not dangerous, just irritating.

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid trouble by swimming in nature either. Freshwater lakes can house microbes and bacteria that can get into your body through pores and cracks. Even saltwater pools aren’t entirely chemical-free, and the ocean is, well, full of stuff.

Shower off before and after going in the water of your choice and you should be able to enjoy swimming to its fullest.