By: Peter Yurek, BSc.Phm

For centuries, tales of a fountain of youth have fueled our imaginations. But perhaps it isn’t the magical properties of the water that keep us young, but the act of swimming in them that does! Swimming holds many ‘mystic’ benefits. Here are three.

Overall fitness

As we age, we lose flexibility, muscle mass, and strength, causing us to feel stiff and sore and making us feel every minute of our age (even when the number is not that high). Swimming works your entire body, building strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. It is easier on joints than running and burns more calories than walking. And almost anyone can do it regardless of age.

Respiratory illnesses

Regular swimming can give you more control over your breathing and increase the size and efficiency of your lungs. That, and the moist air of a pool, can make breathing more manageable, especially for those with asthma or COPD. Building respiratory strength can help you empty your lungs with every breath and prevent air from getting trapped (a hallmark of COPD).

Mental health

Swimming releases endorphins (chemicals that make us feel good) and helps us re-establish our primal connection to water. Several studies have shown that swimming reduces stress and anxiety, helps battle depression, and even improves mood and sleep.

If age is just a number, then the Fountain of Youth is about quality of life. And improving your fitness, mental health, and ability to breathe efficiently will do just that. It starts when you dip your toe in the pool—any fountain will do!