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Research shows lap swimming can prolong youth

Research shows lap swimming can prolong youth
May 29, 2013

Research conducted by Indiana University Bloomington's Counsilman Centre for the Science of Swimming shows regular laps of the pool may be the answer to prolonging youth.

In the study, the researchers measured age markers, physiological function indicators that typically decline by 0.5% to 1% a year from the age of 35. They compared the markers of swimmers with similar data collected from the general population.

It was found that fairly intensive swimming about four kilometres, three to five times a week substantially delayed the decline of age markers such as blood pressure, muscle mass, blood chemistry and pulmonary function for long periods.

Highlighting how swimming can also benefit the skeletal system, Brenton Ford, a coach at the Powerpoint Masters Swimming Club in Melbourne explains "swimming is one of the least dangerous sports in terms of the risk of suffering a sports injury, mainly due to the slow speed, lack of physical contact and supportive environment.

"In water, you're only bearing 10% of your body weight. The remaining 90% is borne by the pool, so it's gentle on the joints and body."

The University of Sydney's Dr Nathan Johnson, who is also a spokesman for Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) adds "swimming provides a good aerobic workout for the whole body and can improve the strength endurance of the muscles in the shoulders and back.

"Unlike gym machines, which can isolate one body part at a time - think of doing a bicep curl on the machine - swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments stay loose and flexible

"With every stroke you're lengthening the body, giving you a good top-to-toe stretch."

Brenton Ford says one of the biggest mistakes people make when they go to the pool is swimming just one or two kilometres at the same pace, stating "to get a better workout, break it up into a short warm-up.

"Try swimming every third lap fast, and the others at a medium pace for recovery. The best way to get fitter and tone up is to do some high-intensity swimming."

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