It is universally accepted that physical activity is good for your health and reduces mortality rates. Studies that compare mortality rates between swimmers and other common physical activities are rare. The most compelling findings are those of Chase, Sui, & Blair (IJARE, 2008, 2(3), 213-223) that compared 40,517 men 20-90 years of age who completed health examinations from 1971-2003 as part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study administered by the Cooper Institute. After adjusting for age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, and family history of cardiovascular disease, swimmers had a 50% and 49% lower all-cause mortality risk than did men who were walkers or runners.
The scientific body of evidence is growing that immersion in water and aquatic activity provides even more health benefits. Plus, it is inexpensive to go to a public pool. Heck, a public pool costs less than seeing a movie and the pool is in 3D whether you wear dorky glasses or not. It has surround sound and you can certainly get popcorn for less than $6 bucks. Yet, only about 7% of homes have a pool, 3,800 drowning deaths occur each year and about half of all Americans have a fear of water.
We have a lot of work to do to help people and insurance companies understand how important the public pool is to their health and the health of our nation. Help get more people in the water by donating to a learn-to-swim program in your community or the Step Into Swim™ Campaign. Here is a video clip of a swim program that utilized Step Into Swim donated funds.