Updated May 15, 2018

Mermaids don’t achieve that slippery figure and salty smile just by sitting down on their clam-shaped couch all day. They swim. And they swim a lot. While swimming used to be only something your grandmother did in a bathing cap (or you did when you were pregnant because it was the easiest on the baby), today it happens to be one of the most beneficial workouts and life-improving rituals out there. Why? Because it is an “all-in-one fitness package,” working most of the muscles in your body in various ways than simply running or rowing cannot do.

In Olympic Gold medalist Janet Evans’s book, Total Swimming, she says it “positively affects many aspects of life, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s no wonder that physicians, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and fitness coaches alike laud it as one of the best ways to stay in shape.”  All in all, this form of exercise works your entire body, yet it’s gentle on joints, reducing the risk of injury. You can also bid farewell to sweaty armpits post-workout. So jump in, the water is perfect!

1. Natural Anti-Depressive
Psychotherapists are so convinced of the benefits of being in a pool for happiness, that some prescribe this exercise to depressed patients.  For many, swimming can serve as a kind of medicine.

2. Protects Your Knees
Running in water is just as effective and won’t ruin your knees. Water’s buoyancy allows you to do exercises that are difficult on land and there’s no pounding or jarring on the joints either.  Combine running across the pool with regular laps.

Read Related: 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Walking