With finals coming up the first of May, students need an activity to help them wind down and forget about the stress of finals looming.

Any physical activity produces endorphins in the brain that act as natural painkillers to the body. Not only does this improve a person’s ability to sleep, but a healthier body means a healthier mind and allows a student to be able to better tackle the next day or the next activity of the day.

Tyson Claiborne is a freshman at ETSU who swam competitively for five years before coming to college. Even though he no longer has competitive reasons to swim, he still does so recreationally.

“You’re by yourself in the water and you can’t really hear outside noises,” Claiborne said. “You can just concentrate on working out and feeling better because it does make you feel so much better using all your muscles.”

Swimming is an exercise that does not just work one muscle in the body. It gets heart-rates pumping, as well as the arms, legs, torso and hips. Freestyle is the most common stroke and is usually what people do who don’t swim competitively or on a regular basis. This style is less harsh on the legs and is more focused on the upper body.

There are other styles of swimming, such as breast stroke, butterfly and backstroke. Backstroke can be one of the most relaxing exercises that can be done in the pool, and it can also be a great way to stretch out shoulders and ease back pain.

As a beginner who has never tried swimming as a relaxing form of exercise, the backstroke can be the best place to start because it deals the most with balance in the water.

The most obvious, and probably most practical, place to swim is the pool in the Basler Center for Physical Activity on the ETSU campus. However, the lakes in the area provide a relaxing place off-campus to get away and also have a good exercise.

While the CPA does not offer water aerobics classes, there are various public pools and centers in Johnson City that do. Water aerobics is a type of resistance training that usually does not involve swimming but involves the same idea of working all the muscles.

Water aerobics is a good option for those who prefer to work out in a group as opposed to being alone. Both swimming and water aerobics are great workouts that allow a release of stress in every part of the body.