How Swimming Improves Brain Function
You might wonder what swimming has to do with brain functionality. We know that aerobic exercise can slow down the process of aging. Swimming may also help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.
Aerobic exercise helps release serotonin.
One of the more enticing questions is how, specifically, swimming enhances short- and long-term memory. To pinpoint how long the beneficial effects may last, researchers trained rats to swim for 60 minutes daily for five days per week. The team then tested the rats’ memory by having them swim through a radial arm water maze containing six arms, including one with a hidden platform.
Rats got six attempts to swim freely and find the hidden platform. After just seven days of swim training, researchers saw improvements in both short- and long-term memories, based on a reduction in the errors rats made each day. The researchers suggested that this boost in cognitive function could provide a basis for using swimming as a way to repair learning and memory damage caused by neuropsychiatric diseases in humans.
Another research group recently looked at the link between physical activity and how children learn new vocabulary words. Researchers taught children age 6-12 the names of unfamiliar objects. Then they tested their accuracy at recognizing those words after doing three activities: coloring (resting activity), swimming (aerobic activity) and a CrossFit-like exercise (anaerobic activity) for three minutes.
They found that children’s accuracy was much higher for words learned following swimming compared with colouring and CrossFit, which resulted in the same level of recall. This shows a clear cognitive benefit from swimming versus anaerobic exercise, though the study does not compare swimming with other aerobic exercises. These findings imply that swimming for even short periods of time is highly beneficial to young, developing brains.
Researchers have found that BDNF (a protein produced by your brain to help repair cells). We now know that adults can grow new brain but they have to work hard at it. BDNF can be generated during physical activity.
Swimming can also help you sleep better and as we know sleep is very important as that’s the time thar our brains properly organise themselves.