Swimming has many good qualities to it – some that no other sport or activity can offer.
Now, a study from Indiana University Bloomington in the United States has found that it can actually postpone the ageing process. But how?
The long-term study revealed that Masters Swimmers (aged over 35) who swam 3.2-4.8 kms three to five times per week postponed the ageing process – and not just by a few years, but by decades, according to traditional age markers, such as blood pressure, lung function and muscle mass.
Before you think “but I’m not an amazing OR regular swimmer”, know that you don’t have to be to benefit.
The US’ Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming director Joel Stager said the benefits start with a minimal amount of swimming.
“If you want the fitness effect, you’ll need to look at getting your heart rate up and boosting the intensity.”
Aside from the immediately obvious, here are seven benefits to be gained from swimming. (How many reasons do we actually need, though? It’s hot – jump in!)
1) It’s gentle on joints and improves flexibility
Belgium-based swim fanatic Christophe Keller said swimming “is a form of exercise that’s suitable to people of all ages because it’s so easy on the joints”. “The water supports the body so only a fraction of your weight has to be supported by your limbs. It also favours smooth circular movements rather than quick jerky movements that can strain joints.”
2) Weight maintenance
A half-hour swim can burn as many as 250 calories. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, your body has to work harder in the pool, even though it might not feel like it is.
3) Mental health improvement
The British website swimming.org reported that swimming promotes feelings of well being, something that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention confirms. “For people with fibromyalgia it can decrease anxiety, and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood.”
4) It’s a great aerobic exercise
Swimming increases your lung capacity and gives them a solid work-out. It’s also been identified as a good form of exercise for people with asthma.
5) Tone your body
Since swimming involves a variety of strokes that use different muscles, you can target the areas you most want to tone – be it legs, upper arms, or stomach muscles. Keller’s website includes techniques for doing each stroke.
6) It’s inexpensive
Unlike some sports which require a lot of equipment, swimming just requires a swim suit – bathing cap and googles are optional, but certainly preferred by some of us. In Australia most of us have a choice of the pool or the ocean, which already gives us more opportunity than so many other nations.
7) It’s social
“If you swim regularly you’ll most likely make new friends of all ages,” Mr Keller said, “since people not only swim at the pool but also like to relax, socialize and talk. My impression is that swimmers are usually positive and in a good mood”.
“Take it slow in the beginning and progress at your own pace,” Keller suggested. “Don’t try to measure up to a 20-year-old speeding through the water. Instead, enjoy the experience of swimming – of floating and moving through the water.”
Originally posted by Everything Zoomer.