College of DuPage Nursing Student Samuel Altobar shared that there are few changes that happen to the human body after 35 years of age. According to recent information published in Harvard Health (2020), after age 30 muscle mass decreases at a rate of up to 3% to 5% per decade. According to some reports, bodily metabolism slows after age 35 resulting in a decrease in bone production (Heaney, 2018).
Swimming is actually a great exercise to sustain health and prevent illness given these routine body changes. Swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise, so there is less impact on the joints. This makes it an ideal choice for those individuals with weak or damaged joints and older individuals.
Some of the important benefits of swimming include:
- Breathing & Respiration. Some people believe that when swimming you have to hold your breath. This is actually not the case. According to Maria Gaal, a USA Triathlete, the body is trained to use rhythmic patterns of breathing while swimming. Swimmers exhale when their face is in the water and they take a breath of air as they lift their head out of the water; when they lift their head out of the water and turn it, that is when they breathe. Swimmers also have a greater lung capacity so children who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma may be encouraged to learn to swim (Gaal, 2018).
- Muscle and Strength. Even though swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise, it improves muscle strength in many muscles in the body. Swimming may not result in a buff looking body but it is an activity that improves fitness and tone when performed regularly.
- Cardiovascular exercise minus the impact. The rhythmic pattern of swimming is one reason it is a wonderful aerobic exercise. Water density is greater than air density and creates resistance when swimming. This requires the heart to contract harder and is one reason swimmers benefit from improvements in circulation.
- Flexibility. Flexibility may not be a priority for many of us, however, flexibility prevents injuries, and for older adults, can help to prevent falls from occurring. The act of swimming involves many muscle groups that involve a wide range of motion. This is especially true of the shoulder. Muscle conditioning is also necessary to maintain tone in addition to flexibility.
Swimming is not the simplest form of exercise for everyone, but it provides many physiologic benefits to the body. Swimming is a sustainable activity that can be performed throughout the lifespan. Although a swimming pool is not accessible to everyone, if one has access to a pool, swimming provides an opportunity for a safe and injury-free exercise that also keeps the body flexible and healthy.
Gaal, M. (2018, May 30). Proper Breathing Technique for Swimming. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/proper-breathing-technique-for swimming-875008
Heaney, K. (2018, August 20). So What Really Happens to Your Metabolism After 30? Retrieved November 06, 2020, from https://www.thecut.com/2018/08/how-much-does-metabolism-drop-after-age-30.html