Get Your Feet Wet: Health Benefits of Swimming
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Get Your Feet Wet: Health Benefits of Swimming

No stinky sneakers, no sweat-drenched T-shirts. If that isn't enough to get you to a pool long after summer has passed -- doing laps, water aerobics, or pool walking -- we've got five more reasons to make a splash:

  1. Pushing water out of the way tunes every muscle you move. Water's more resistant than a teenager trying not to take out the trash (12 times more resistant than air). Translation: You get some strength training with every move you make. (Yup, even tugging your suit back into place). We like weight lifting more, but moving water is a good start for those who haven't lifted anything heavier than a loaded fork lately.

  2. Your joints like it. Water's buoyancy reduces your body weight by up to 90%. If you've got a creaky hip or shoulder, a water workout gets it moving. Wet workouts have proved great for arthritis or fibromyalgia.

  3. You'll live longer. Compared with walkers and runners, swimmers who were in the pool a few times a week were 50% less likely to die during a recent 32-year study involving 40,000 guys. Why? Regularly clocking laps was better at boosting cardiovascular fitness.

  4. You can keep it up forever. Because water workouts are so easy on your body, you won't have to retire the way many runners do. Thrilling example: At age 41, swimmer Dara Torres won three silver medals at the 2008 Olympics.

  5. No, it won't make you fat. That rumor went viral when somebody discovered that splashing around in really cold water increases appetite. No worries. Most indoor pools are kept at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.