As we age, it’s important to find ways to maintain joint health and stay in shape! Playing basketball is fun and a good workout, but eventually we all get too old, and the last thing we want to do is get injured. So what is a healthy alternative?! You guessed it… swimming! All you need is a Speedo, some goggles, and a well-maintained pool. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s never too late to learn.
But why swimming?!? Well, here are 5 reasons to jump in:
1. Builds Cardio Fitness without Overheating
It engages every muscle in the body, including the heart, and improves blood circulation. This is among the few aerobic exercises that can burn a lot of calories without putting too much pressure on the limbs. Further, swimming tends to engage a large number of calories per stroke.
2. Reduces Stress and Clears the Mind
Everybody is always attached to their phones even when they are in the gym working out. Well there is none of that while swimming – no texting, Facebooking, Snapchatting – just you and the water. How refreshing! Also, splashing through the water tends to engage our bodies and minds, which induces the release of endorphins (your body’s feel-good hormones that help neutralize depression).
3. Improves Flexibility & Mobility
Most of us don’t do any stretching and end up losing our mobility as we age. Well swimming not only works our muscles but also stretches muscle fibers and ligaments. Reaching, stretching, twisting and pulling your way through the water is a great way to stretch without even realizing you are doing it.
4. Builds Most Muscle Groups
Swimming recruits all major muscle groups, including shoulders, back, abs, hips, and glutes. Water provides 12 times the resistance as air in every direction and helps build overall physical conditioning while being easy on the joints. I believe a combination of weights and swimming provides great balance for your joints.
5. Swimming Surpasses Limitations of Age, Availability and/or Serious Illness (might help you live longer too!)
You can swim your whole life, and it is equally suited for small children and elderly. South Carolina researchers followed 40,547 adults ages 20 to 90 for more than 3 decades and discovered that swimmers – regardless of age – were about 50% less likely to die during the study than were sofa sitters, walkers, and runners. (source: Prevention Magazine) Also, a person with physical disabilities can do water-based exercises they couldn’t do on land.
Are those enough reasons to grab a suit, goggles, and about 30 minutes of your time? Trust me – give it a go and your body will thank you!