I always recommend swimming as the single-best exercise for your health and longevity. It’s far better than running on a treadmill or on hard, artificial pavement. In fact, as you’ll hear in a moment, scientific studies show there are four major health benefits of swimming, including slowing the aging process by decades.
More generally, spending time submerged in water has great soothing, therapeutic value. It’s perhaps like a temporary return to the womb. (I talked more about the benefits of hydrotherapy in the September 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, in the article “The water cure.”)
In addition, water from the ancient seas is the origin of all life on Earth. First, plant life emerged. Then, insects emerged from the oceans to live on a vegetated planet. After another 100 million years, amphibians emerged, leading to reptiles and then mammals. Several mammals eventually ended up going back to live in the water, such as whales, dolphins, seals, walruses, and manatees—a favorite here in Manatee County, Florida.
So, as you can see, water plays a highly significant role in human life and health. And as I mentioned above, swimming, in particular offers four major health benefits…
1.) Slows aging process—by decades
Two recent studies emphasize the ability of swimming to slow the aging process. In the first study, researchers with Indiana University followed “master swimmers” over the age 35 who swam 3,200 to 4,500 meters (about 50 to 100 laps in a swimming pool) three to five times per week.
Specifically, they measured blood pressure, lung function, and muscle mass.
Typically, people start to experience declines of about 0.5 to 1 percent per year in lung and muscle capacity after they turn 35.
But these swimmers didn’t start experiencing these declines until DECADES later. In fact, some of the master swimmers didn’t experience the declines until age 70!
This finding makes a lot of sense. And it reminds me of Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller, the ever-youthful actors who played Tarzan—and who were also Olympic swimmers. (Some of the Tarzan films were shot at the L.A. State and County Arboretum, in Arcadia, California, where my parents resided for 50 years after I left home.)
In another recent study, researchers with the University of South Carolina followed 40,000 men ages 20 to 90 for 32 years. It turns out, those who swam regularly had a 50 percent lower risk of death compared to runners, walkers, and those who didn’t exercise at all.
2.) Supports joints, muscles, and lung capacity
Of course, your body has buoyancy in water (especially salt water). So, your hips, knees, and legs only need to support a small fraction of your normal body weight. (The ancient Greek natural philosopher Archimedes demonstrated that the buoyancy force is equal to the weight of water displaced by the body in water.)
Therefore, you avoid the wear-and-tear on joints inherent in land-based exercises like running.
Plus, swimming in water provides gentle resistance. So, it’s a great workout for your muscles—especially your heart muscle, as you have to work harder to get through it.
Swimming also provides a complete workout to all your muscles, especially when you use different strokes. For example, while swimming on your front, your back, arms, and legs get a great workout. And swimming on your back provides great exercise for your stomach muscles too.
At the same time, swimming encourages steady, smooth, low-impact movement—instead of the hard, jerky impact of running.
Of course, swimming also increases aerobic lung capacity. So, it’s a great form of exercise for people with asthma.
3.) Aids in weight loss
Swimming for just 30 minutes burns about 250 calories. (Even a gentle swim burns about 200 calories per half-hour.)
Plus, swimming in water under 98 degrees Fahrenheit requires your metabolism to speed up in order to maintain a normal body temperature.
(In fact, my forensic studies as a Medical Examiner for cases of maritime law showed how fast you lose body heat in water below 98 degrees—which ranges from hours to only minutes as the water temperature drops.)
4.) Improves mental health
Besides the above physical benefits, swimming and being in water improves mental health. It can also provide a good social experience when using a community pool.
As these studies show, you don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer…or even a master swimmer…to reap the benefits of swimming. Just a minimal amount of time in the water can significantly improve your physical and mental well-being.
So—now that summer is coming, get outdoors and take a swim. You’ll soak up some natural sunshine and the water will keep you cool, while giving you a great workout at the same time.
You can even mix my two favorite forms of exercise by walking back-and-forth to the pool. Or even by walking back and forth in the pool.
Of course, swimming is just one way to keep yourself vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s—and beyond. In fact, I’ve written an entire protocol filled with simple, common strategies to thwart disease and increase your longevity and independence. It’s called my Insider’s Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” Click here to learn more, or to sign up today.
P.S. This Sunday, May 5th at 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time, I’ll be hosting my Cancer Reversal Summit live event. During this event, you’ll gain access to 25 unique lessons (plus three bonus lessons!) that cover everything from the basic science behind what can trigger different types of cancer to lifestyle factors you can follow. I’ll even provide detailed nutritional recommendations. But I have to warn you—spots are limited! Reserve your spot today and click here now!
“Blair says there is no reason to believe that women would not show same benefits from swimming.” Arnold School of Public Health (asph.sc.edu/news/blair3.htm) 2/3/2009