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Looking for an energy boost?



Robert E. Thayer, PhD, a psychology professor at California State University, states "It's now been shown in many studies that once you actually start moving around, the more you will want to move, and, ultimately, the more energy you will feel,"

With our busy lifestyles we often find ourselves feeling tired all the time, a general feeling of low energy and fatigue and like a good long nap is in order. But! The best thing you can do for those tired, grumpy days is get out and swim! Inactivity is often responsible for people’s lack of energy. Just 30 minutes of swimming three times per week can boost your energy levels through increasing your metabolic rate.

What’s so important about increasing our resting metabolic rate?

Swimming requires lots of energy (calories) and hence, lots are burned. But maintaining a faster metabolism is vital for long-term feeling of energy and vitality. Your metabolism is determined by: A) Age B) Gender C) Muscle mass

Ok so what does this mean? Obviously we can’t do anything about your gender or your age but increasing your muscle mass through a regular swimming program – yes, we can totally manage that!

"Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn't make you tired -- it literally creates energy in your body. Your body rises up to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger," says nutritionist Samantha Heller, a nutrition advisor for the Journey for Control diabetes program.

Heller says this happens on the cellular level, where our natural energy production begin. "It all begins with tiny organs called mitochondria. Located in our cells, they work like tiny power plants to produce energy," she says. Mitochondria produce the chemical that your body uses as energy, known as ATP. Physical exercise such as swimming stimulates the development of new mitochondria in your cells, meaning your body will be able to produce more ATP. This increase in ATP not only gives you more energy to exercise more efficiently, but it means more energy for your brain, boosting your general well-being and giving you that much sought after energy boost.

But is this advice tried and true?

Forget so-called “energy drinks.” A study by University of Georgia researchers finds overwhelming evidence that regular exercise plays a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue.

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that sedentary, otherwise healthy adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.

“A lot of times when people are fatigued the last thing they want to do is exercise,” said professor Patrick O’Connor, co-director of the University Georgia exercise psychology laboratory. “But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help.”

In another study, published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, looking at the effect of exercise on energy levels and found that it was stronger than the treatment of fatigued people with drugs. Specifically, the researchers found that exercise increased energy and reduced fatigue by a significant margin when compared to people who did not participate in any exercise.

What about the added bonus of a regular swimming program on our fitness levels? Does becoming fitter and stronger help? I’m sure you’ve all noticed that the physical exertion of swimming creates an increased need for oxygen. Depending on your fitness level this will effect some more than others, but we all find ourselves breathing heavier and faster during exercise. Because of this increased consumption of oxygen, our lung capacity also increases with exercise. Over time, with continued exercise, this increased lung capacity allows you to deliver more and more oxygen to your brain and blood stream, helping you feel more awake, alert, and ready to go. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15-25% would be like shaving ten to twenty years off your age. Imagine feeling ten years younger just because you started a regular swimming program! Yes thank you I’ll definitely put my hand up for that!

Is there any benefit to adding in a dose of Vitamin D by swimming outdoors?

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology shed some light on the positive effects of outdoor activity. “Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.”

So no time to wait thinking about trying to squeeze in a little afternoon nap, pull on your bathers and dive in! Your body will thank you for it and so will your family and friends with your endless energy and zing for life!


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