Swimming: Why It’s One of the Best Ways to Stay Fit When You’re Over 60
Regrettably, thanks to government cuts back in 2010, swimming over 60 is no longer free. This is a particularly great shame, given how good swimming is for your health!
However, if you can afford a regular session at your local swimming pool, the benefits make this small expenditure well worth it. Here’s a brief explanation about just why swimming is so great for your health.
Swimming: A Good All-Rounder
Swimming, unlike many other exercise, involves the entire body; which makes it a great full-body workout. Here’s just a few reasons why you should make the time to fit it into your weekly exercise programme.
1) Reduces risk of chronic illness. Regularly swimming can help reduce the likelihood of developing a number of life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
2) Weight-loss. Data taken from 2011 revealed that a quarter of the adult population in the UK were obese. Swimming is a great way to burn calories, improve muscle tone, raise metabolism and burn fat.
3) Body support. If you have joint problems or limited mobility, swimming is one of the best activities there is. The natural buoyancy of the water supports the body, taking strain off the joints and significantly reducing the chances of injury.
4) Life-saving. In addition to the considerable benefits, swimming is a vital skill, which could one day save your life. If you cannot yet swim, remember that it is never too late to learn. Many classes cater for those over the age of 60.
5) Versatility. Don’t be fooled into thinking that swimming is just a matter of doing lengths. If you explore the options at the local pool, you’re likely to find a wide variety of classes, including women-only sessions, aqua-aerobics and sessions focusing on swimming skills.
Sea Swimming – Good for the Health?
Remember, swimming doesn’t have to be limited to the local swimming pool. In fact, according to a number of recent studies, you’ll enjoy additional health benefits if you choose to dive into the sea instead.
A study carried out in the Czech Republic found that those who took a dip in cold water three times a week enjoyed a noticeable increase in their numbers of white blood cells, which help the body to fight infection. Other research, published in Skin Research and Technology found that sea water is beneficial to the skin, and can help to reduce psoriasis.
Professor Michael Tipton, from Portsmouth University, adds: ‘People say they feel great after a sea or river swim, which may be because the chilly water activates cold sensors all over our bodies – cells positioned just 0.18 millimetres under our skin – which in turn increase heart rate and give us that “alive” feeling… that diverts our attention away from our aches and pains, creating the feel-good factor. It’s effectively a natural painkiller.’
Time to Take the Plunge?
Whether you prefer swimming in a pool or diving into a nearby river, it’s undeniable that swimming can really make a difference when it comes to your health. If you have an existing health condition, remember to talk to your GP before starting any new form of exercise.