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, scientific studies show swimming can slow the aging process by decades…without harming your joints, heart, and other organs.
That being said, anytime you’re around water, there’s a risk of drowning. And my friends at Florida Department of Health encouraged me to share some safety tips.
So, without further ado, let’s “dive” right in…
Drownings and boating accidents pose real risks
As a former Florida State Medical Examiner (ME), I can tell you that Florida experiences many deaths from drownings and boating accidents. Perhaps this is because people here enjoy spending time outside year-round—near, on, and in the water. In fact, most people in the state reside close to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
Plus, many personal residences (including large apartment and condominium buildings) in Florida have swimming pools. And even if they seem just the size of a postage stamp, they’re still large enough to drown in.
Most drownings across the country occur with children under five years of age. Sadly, children ages one to four are more likely to drown in home swimming pools, whereas older children (and adults) are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. So, when a child is in the water, a responsible adult should always keep on the lookout.
As for adults, I recommend practicing the “buddy system” when swimming in a pool or natural body of water, in case a medical emergency occurs.
And even when you’re with a crowd at a party, don’t assume someone is watching, because everyone may just assume that somebody else is watching. Instead, assign a designated “water watcher” (like a designated driver) who will stay sober and alert, monitoring the water activity at all times.
Take safety precautions and educate yourself
Florida State Department of Health recommends homeowners use a combination of these safety measures—especially if you have children, grandchildren, or a loved one who suffers from dementia:
- A fence around the pool with a self-closing, self-latching gate—in other words, enclosing the pool and providing no direct access to it.
- An approved pool cover, which is fitted to your pool; a simple canvas covering can be a drowning hazard and can entrap a child in the water.
- Alarms on all doors and windows leading out to the pool.
- A self-closing, self-latching device on all doors that provide direct access from the home to the pool; the release mechanism must be no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
Of course, drowning can happen within minutes—even seconds—after submersion in water. And it’s almost always nearly silent…very much unlike how they portray the thrashing, gasping, drowning victim on TV.
(The average person can hold their breath for around 30 seconds. Children can’t even hold it for that long.)
When someone has taken water into their lungs and stopped breathing, there are a few precious, “golden” moments of time to react. Which is one major reason why I encourage every able adult to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The CPR techniques aren’t difficult to learn and can make the difference between life and death. So, check your local Red Cross for available classes.
(When I worked as a Florida State Medical Examiner during the mid-1980s, all state MEs participated in a groundbreaking study on CPR to evaluate what happened, and didn’t happen, in fatal cases that came under our investigation. This research helped lead to national standards.)
I don’t share any of this to scare you away from the water. Quite the opposite, in fact! After a year of lockdowns, there’s never been a better time to get out and go swimming. Your mental and physical health will benefit in a major way!
Just make sure you follow the safety guidelines discussed today. (And remember to share them with your loved ones.)
Of course, swimming is just one way to keep yourself vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, 90s—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”. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“State laws.” WaterSmart FL, accessed 5/15/21. (watersmartfl.com/requirements)