BRAIN HEALTH | 8.10.2015 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, Ph.D., M.S.
In these hot, summer months, many of us are spending a lot of time in swimming pools, rivers, or the ocean. But swimming can do more than just cool our bodies. Its repetitive nature makes it the perfect form of exercise to not only boost endorphin levels, but to also act as a moving meditation.
Try this: next time you’re in a pool (or any body of water), swim for 30 seconds and simply focus on gliding with each stroke, repeating the mantra “glide, glide, glide”. For the next 30 seconds, keep your attention on the pull phase of the stroke – think about engaging the muscles in your back to displace the water as you pull your hand toward your body. Mentally repeat “pull, pull, pull”. By focusing on one aspect of your swimming mechanics for a finite period of time, you will not only improve your technique, but you will also prevent your busy brain from thinking about anything else.
If you’re not comfortable swimming, just float on your back or on an inflatable raft. The buoyancy of floating in water is itself calming and a wonderful way to relax your body and your mind.