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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

This upcoming season, it’s time to try a new form of exercise at the University of Connecticut Rec Center. Below, find out all the benefits I’ve experienced from swimming and learn why you should try out the sport as the colder months approach!

1. It’s too cold to be outside

New England winter is known for its warm hot chocolate, Christmas spirit, and sparkling holiday lights that start to appear in mid-October. Unfortunately, that comes along with days of gray skies, lack of sunshine, and weather too cold to even want to walk to class in, let alone go on a run. A better alternative would be a swim at the indoor pool at the UConn Recreation Center. This bright blue, warm pool just makes you want to get in and swim, which is the perfect way to get active when we can’t be outdoors as much. Getting out of our comfort zone and implementing a different kind of exercise into our daily routine can also get us out of those “winter blues.” A change in our body temperature and what we are doing is a great way to combat seasonal depression — plus keep our bodies healthy by working out.

2. Allows you to sleep better

Getting any form of exercise is known to tire us out physically. Swimming is known to raise your body temperature as you do a few laps, and once you stop your workout, your body temperature drops. When body temperature drops, the brain signals to the body that it is time for rest and sleep. As the weather gets colder, it can be hard to maintain a healthy routine and sleep schedule. Implementing this form of exercise can keep us on track to get to bed at a reasonable hour. On a more spiritual level, water has been known to have a connection to dreams and our subconscious. In fact, water commonly shows up in our dreams because of the tie it has to our emotions. Whether you’re just drinking a glass of water or swimming around in the dream, there’s a connection that ties in with our subconscious thoughts.

3. It decreases stress

Water has always been known throughout history for its healing properties, which can bring on feelings of relaxation and peace of mind. Not only does this help with sleep as well, but it’s very important for our stress. As midterms and finals approach, we still need to make sure to prioritize what our body and brain needs. When we swim, our body releases endorphins, hormones that decrease anxiety and depression. Swimming also incorporates some of the same stretches that release tension in the muscles when doing yoga and meditation. This allows for swimming to be a calm and relaxing experience, perfect to wind down the brain after a long day of classes and studying.  

4. Improves flexibility and posture

Swimming plays a huge role in our physical health since we are using all the muscles simultaneously. Engaging all these muscles at the same time is what lets our joints become loose and more flexible. Our body uses muscles that are not common in everyday routine, which allows them to contract and stretch more throughout the workout. Swimming also impacts the spine, especially during backstroke. Backstroke lets our bodies be supported by the water, which decreases pain and soreness in the back, spine, and neck. This improves our posture over time because our bodies are able to be stretched out and supported by the water. 

5. Helps build up endurance and strength

If you’re not quite sure how to start with this new activity, setting just a quick 30-minute timer and testing out which strokes you can do, how many laps you can swim, and how well you can float is the perfect way to get some activity in. If you’re looking for something a little bit more intense and advanced, searching for a swim set online to “train” is also a great way to get your muscles working! I find that it’s the best way to keep your heart rate up without stressing your body. Our body also has to work harder to control our breathing and make sure to exhale slowly, which increases our lung capacity. The body builds muscular strength by working all the muscles and joints simultaneously and in a repetitive motion.

Try out the pool at the Rec Center these upcoming months — you might be surprised at the results!

Amelia is a freshmen at University of Connecticut majoring in Journalism. She loves to hang out with friends, go to yoga classes, swim, and binge watch Netflix. Her comfort show is Jane the Virgin and her go-to Starbucks bev is a pink drink!