Swimming affects longevity: A study at the University of South Carolina shows that swimming has far greater advantages than other forms of exercise. The men in the study showed a 50% lower mortality rate by swimming over running, walking and their non-exercising peers. The subjects of the study were limited to white males with middle- to upper-class incomes. Future studies will be done to measure other populations as well as to compare injury risks with other forms of exercise.
The beauty of swimming as an exercise is the host of benefits it gives while being easy on your body. The equipment requirements are minimal. The physical stress of gravity is lessened by water’s buoancy. And it’s a relaxing way to enjoy the benefits of your pool daily.
To get started, all you need is a swimsuit, and a pair of goggles and a swim cap if you like. Later, you may want to add fins to make your legs work in both directions. Fins can help you better use your thigh, calf and abdominal muscles. Better muscle usage will also prevent you from overworking your arms and shoulders. Fins are also helpful when recovering from knee injuries.
Other accessories allow you to exercise different parts of your body in isolation. A pull-buoy placed between your thighs lets you paddle without having to kick, while hanging onto a kickboard with your hands allows you to kick without using your arms. Hand paddles and webbed gloves increase the resistance of the water and are designed to help strengthen your arms, but should be used with caution to avoid the risk of shoulder problems.