Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States. Not only is it a fun outdoor activity but is also a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity, which can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. It can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. In fact, research indicates that swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people.
Another positive aspect swimming is that people report enjoying exercising in water more than on land. It is a fun way to get your family participating in physical activities and getting the exercise they need for a healthy lifestyle. For older family member, or people with chronic diseases, swimming is a good choice because they can exercise longer without increased effort or joint or muscle pain. This is especially true for people with arthritis or osteoarthritis, because exercising in water can improve affected joints without worsening symptoms.
• Have fun with your family
• Exercise in a way that is relaxing and doesn’t hurt your joints
• Decrease the risk of chronic illnesses
• Aerobic exercise in a fun way
While swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life, precautions must also be taken. Americans swim in many places including pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year and most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. However, there are also precautions that need to be taken to ensure safety while swimming.
Be safe this summer!
Check out the tips from Center for Disease Control on water safety.
Remember the basics:
• Watch your children at all times – don’t leave them alone for a minute.
• Wear sunscreen and be aware of the dangers of sunburn.
• Don’t get distracted by your phone or books – be aware of drowning risks.
• Practice Water Safety (use life jackets, teach your children to swim).
• Be aware of Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI).
• Avoid swallowing pool water or even getting it in your mouth.
• Take children on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
The Center for Disease Control has information regarding tips to keep your family safe in the water this summer. This information can be found at their website, http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Be active, healthy, and happy! In Chapter 2: Physical Activity Has Many Health Benefits. Last verified on December 23, 2009.
Chase NL, Sui X, Blair SN. 2008. Swimming and all-cause mortality risk compared with running, walking, and sedentary habits in men. Int J of Aquatic Res and Educ. 2(3):213-23.
Lotshaw AM, Thompson M, Sadowsky S, Hart MK, and Millard MW. 2007. Quality of life and physical performance in land- and water-based pulmonary rehabilitation. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehab and Prev. 27:247-51.
Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, email@example.com.