ART BY JOSEPH MENDOZA
By JASMINE SALDANO
Could swimming single handedly cure all of your social struggles?
All of the social interactions involved through leisure and competitive activity strongly bond a person’s engagement in their mental well-being rather than simply the fun of it.
According to Time magazine’s Markham Heid, the various bodily merits that swimming offers have a tremendous impact on one’s mood.
“The exercise is also linked to many of the life-extending, heart-saving, mood-lifting benefits associated with aerobic exercise,” Heid explains.
As any form of exercise improves our physical health, the entirety of our mental well-being also corresponds with the physical benefactors Heid mentions. Swimming’s gravity-less environment serves as a physiological and psychological refresher to our health, liberating burdens of any genre from our internal surroundings.
Most adolescent communities are often encouraged to learn how to swim. As a fair number of teens suffer from anxiety and depression, newer studies claim swimming reduces symptoms of these illnesses. A poll commissioned by Swim England in October 2018 also reported the significant effects on individuals over the age of sixteen.
According to this article, “[The research] reveals that more than 490,000 people have reduced, or no longer take medication for their mental health condition as a result of swimming.”
The miracles of the sport can also be seen from the journey of twenty-three time Olympic gold-medalist, Michael Phelps. At the age of nine, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and received medications to improve his concentration. Despite his struggles in everyday activities, Phelps eventually developed the ability to focus for hours on end through swimming. This discovery revealed Phelps’ passion to swim and later led to his success on an Olympic scale.
As a child, Phelps was one of my prime role models. I greatly admired his perseverance and the way he had overcome many challenging obstacles to become the globally respected athlete that everyone knows.
My brother faced similar struggles and also admired Phelps for his resilience. Impatient teachers and instructors urged our mother to get my brother tested for ADHD, however the tests always returned negative. Knowing that my brother still needed to manage his hyperactivity, our mom signed us both up for a local swim team.
For me, swimming became an outlet to present myself more socially. As a child, I was always moving schools, which made it difficult to establish friendships. Although my mother’s motives were somewhat different in introducing the sport to my brother and I, swimming ultimately helped me interact more with others.
Since then, I have personally had such a profound connection with swimming. As time went on, I found the confidence to take part in extracurriculars and friendly bonding. As I matured, I was able to direct the stamina I built from swimming into my social engagements. Although my life has and will continue to have many grand obstacles, swimming has undoubtedly affected my ability to face these.
In short, my ongoing love for this sport is due to all of the physiological attributions that come from the experience of swimming. Having fun in any sort of activity generously induces the smiles and laughs we need, and swim never fails to brighten my mood. I would especially recommend participation to anyone seeking this composure. It is an unsung and advanced cure to our stress and struggles.