“Swimming is the closest thing on this earth to a perfect sport,” writes Dr. Jane Katz, a swim-fitness author and educator in NY.
And part of its perfection, according to a recent study by doctors at the University of Pittsburgh, is that swimming and other vigorous exercise actually slows down the aging process.
The study followed 40 masters triathletes (men and women who swim, bike and run several times a week) between the ages of 40 and 81. The older participants showed a remarkable lack of age-related muscle mass loss. In fact, the MRI scans of their bone and muscle density look similar to those of the 40 year olds.
What this means is that the decline of muscle mass and strength as we age may not be as inevitable as we have thought. In fact, the study concludes that decline is actually a function of chronic disuse not just aging and that exercise is the ticket to staying strong and youthful: “This maintenance of muscle mass and strength may decrease or eliminate the falls, functional decline, and loss of independence that are commonly seen in aging adults.”
So, what do you think? Are you ready now to commit to that daily swim?
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