This World Health Day, you must take up swimming as an exercise. Swimming is a fantastic way to stay healthy because, besides helping lose a few pounds and helping us maintain our physique, swimming offers many other advantages. It is one activity that is not only a life-saving skill but it will also help you stay active and fit. It is an overall fitness regime that will work on each muscle group of your body, increase muscle tone, resistance and flexibility and burn away the blues!

Here is how swimming can drastically improve your health:

Mental health: Olympian, Arjuna Awardee and fitness mentor for Speedo, Rehan Poncha says, “Swimming, for me, has always been meditative. Having the luxury of shutting out the entire world while you’re swimming is one of the key reasons why it helps calm the mind. You can’t really hear anything that goes on outside the pool when you’re swimming, and that’s why it’s so special and also a very unique sport.” It is not about being competitive or spending hours in the pool to achieve a fit body or a healthy mind, just adding 30 minutes of swimming three times a week to your schedule is enough to give you the much-needed boost of energy and positivity. Interestingly, swimming boosts a chemical in your brain – endorphins that keep your mind at ease. This depreciates your stress levels, reduces anxiety and even depression. The quiet, rhythmical water around you really tends to cool you down; It is almost as peaceful as meditating.

Cardiovascular fitness: Swimming helps improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles and most importantly increases the flexibility of your joints. Athletes from other sports use the swimming pool to rehabilitate from injury; older people swim to keep muscle coordination and strength consistent.

“Very few sports boast of such benefits like swimming does and therefore I encourage everyone, no matter what age, to pursue the sport this summer, or learn it through the season,” Rehan says.

There are various swim workouts to keep yourself fit: Regardless of your age or your ability in the pool, you can use this sport to increase the longevity of the health of your muscles and joints. As you are exercising in the water, the muscles are protected against impact through its buoyancy that you would otherwise have to work against on land.

Here’s how you can do underwater workout as recommended by Rehan:

1. Push off the wall with your legs, underwater, with a tight streamline, wherein your arms are extending forward, straight and with interlocked palms.

2. Then perform the standard dolphin kick which is started with the undulating of the hips in unison with the downbeat and upbeat of the feet. Make sure your feet are touching and together through this movement. This movement drives the body forward, almost making a whip-like action that keeps the core active and trained, the legs steadily getting stronger against the resistance that the water provides.

You could repeat this entire exercise now on your back as well. Your lung capacity is also improved as you are doing this exercise underwater. Start off with just 3 to 5 seconds of kicking underwater, and then increase to ten to fifteen seconds of kicking work.