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10 Health Benefits of Swimming

Not only is swimming a relaxing activity, it also has a host of health benefits. Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/4FR In the 1985 Ron Howard movie "Cocoon," a group of elderly adults discovers that a nearby swimming pool has the power to imbue them with new strength, enhanced energy and a more youthful sense of well-being. While the cause of their new lease on life turns out to be from another planet, it doesn't take alien technology to reap the benefits of your neighborhood pool. Even without the aid of mysterious otherworldly cocoons, regular swimming can offer anyone, especially older adults, a wide range of health benefits -- including feeling and looking younger. Here, we'll dive into the 10 ways taking to the water can boost your health. 10: The Ability to Do More with Less

Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to your skeletal system. When the human body is submerged in water, it automatically becomes lighter. When immersed to the waist, your body bears just 50 percent of its weight; dunk yourself to the chest and that number reduces to around 25 to 35 percent; with water all the way to the neck, you only have to bear 10 percent of your own weight. The other 90 percent is handled by the pool. This means that the pool provides an ideal place to work stiff muscles and sore joints, especially if you're overweight or suffer from arthritis. In its recommendation for the right types of exercise for people with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation suggests those that stretch muscles, those that strengthen muscles, and those that provide an aerobic workout. A few laps in the pool combine all three! If the pool is heated, so much the better for arthritis sufferers, as the warm water can help loosen stiff joints. In fact, people with rheumatoid arthritis receive greater benefits to their health after participating in hydrotherapy than with other activities. It's also been proven that water-based exercise improves the use of affected joints and decreases pain from osteoarthritis 9: Increased Muscle Tone and Strength

Once you start swimming regularly, it won't take you long to go from flabby to fit. Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/.shock...

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