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Swimming For Fun And Profit

by Steve Hart

Swimming for fun, sure!  But swimming for profit?  You bet, and in more ways than you can imagine.  On any given day, you can find seniors swimming their way to health and wealth at just about any YMCA or pool equipped health club.

Getting exercise at any age is a good thing, but particularly as we age, exercise is absolutely crucial for: bone, joint and muscle health; maximal operation of the immune system; heart and lung health; cleaning out your endocrine system (sweat glands and such); mental health; and even digestion.

Exercise Health Risks

The problem for most of us as we age is that exercise can become more harder and even potentially damaging to joints.  According to gerontologist, Dr. Peter Hess, when you add arthritis or other degenerative bone or joint problem, diabetes or heart condition to the mix, and heavy exercise can be dangerous.  This is why you constantly see warnings that you should see your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. 

Says Hess, “A good review of your overall physical health is an absolute must in order to make sure that your plans are healthy, not harmful.  While it is highly doubtful that your doctor will tell you to not exercise, you might be told to keep it limited, build up over time, or to participate in non-impact and resistance exercises.”

Swimming your way to health

There are an incredible number of health benefits that can be obtained from a daily swim regimen.  We aren’t even just talking about low impact exercise here.  Swimming is the only virtually “non-impact exercise” sport that you can be involved in regardless of how hard you work at it.  This means that fragile bones and other joint tissues simply are not damaged through pounding. 

Supervised swimming or general water exercise is also an ideal way for anyone recovering from a stroke, surgery, or other physical disability to get exercise without the risk of damage.  Aside from the body’s own natural buoyancy, the addition of floats and other exercise devises can completely eliminate any weight being placed on your legs and offer only the amount of resistance that is consistent with your ability to move.  Water resistance means that uncontrolled body motions are also limited and less damaging.

Among all the other health benefits, the greatest benefits of water exercise for older folks are easily those having to do with increasing heart and lung output and viability and maintaining or even increasing mobility. 

Says Hess, “Swimming is great for the heart and lungs and unlike many other sports, even those in poor physical health can get benefits from it.  Any exercise in the water will require additional cardiovascular output, and the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.”

Even those who don’t or cannot exercise much will also benefit.  According to Emma Sands, 98 of Charlotte NC, she’s seen much better health and actually started walking again after participating in water exercise classes.  Says Emma, “I couldn’t do much to begin with after sitting in a wheelchair most of the last 6 years.  But after a few months, I noticed that moving wasn’t as hard as it had been.  I thought it was the medicine at first.  Then getting up and around also became easier and I didn’t hurt as much either.  I only wish I started this back 40 or so years ago.”

Swimming For Profit

Okay, so where do you start collecting the paycheck for swimming?  Believe it.  There is money involved here for most people.  For this, you need to start taking a look in your bank account, not in your mailbox.  Within a few months after beginning (and sticking to) an exercise program, health benefits start popping up and so do the savings. 

Weight reduction, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improved joint performance, better immune systems and digestion, clearer and more youthful skin, better muscle tone, and many other things will make you feel better, but they will also start letting you keep more of your money by not spending as much on healthcare and prescriptions. 

Keep talking to your doctor about your exercise program and make sure that testing is also done.  A CBT or complete blood test is fairly inexpensive and painless, and should be done to make sure that your medications are properly adjusted.



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