Lifelong swimmer discusses benefits of the sport

Spending time in the pool is beneficial for people of most ages.

Spending time in the pool is beneficial for people of most ages.

Swimming is a sport that people can participate in for most of their lives. From babies in "mommy and me" swimming classes to Masters athletes well past retirement age, there is a place for everyone in the sport.

Writing in the Bellingham Herald, a local Washington state newspaper, Lori Jacobson, manager at Bellingham's aquatic center discussed how and why swimming has been such a large part of her life. Her first introduction to the pool was a Learn-to-Swim class sponsored by the American Red Cross. She took the course at the urging of her parents because they believed that swimming was not an optional skill. Jacobson also mentioned that drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children.

However, Jacobson notes that being a strong swimmer isn't just about safety. It's also a good all-around sport.

"Swimming offers many benefits, both physical and mental," Jacobson wrote. "Swimming can be enjoyed for a lifetime because there is no ground impact, which relieves stress on the body. Swimming improves endurance and fitness, and strengthens and tones muscles while burning calories. Athletes use swimming as a form of cross-training and an alternate form of exercise when recovering from injury."

For 21 years, Jacobson swam competitively on age-group and Masters teams. Although she no longer participates in those strenuous activities, she still spends plenty of time in the water doing water walking and deep-water running. The latter sport requires swimming skills, while the former does not.

No matter your age, it's never too late to grab your Dolfin Uglies swimwear and hop in the water!