New Study Reveals Swimming Can Cut Men's Risk of Dying in Half

Mon Feb 2, 2009 10:37am EST

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Research shows swimming may be the prescription for longevity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study shows that
swimming cuts men's risk of dying by about 50% compared to runners, walkers
and sedentary peers. The University of South Carolina study led by Dr. Steven
Blair evaluated comprehensive physical exams and behavioral surveys from
thousands of people who were enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal
Study (ACLS) over the last 32 years. The results were presented at the 2008
World Aquatic Health(TM) Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and have
been published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education.

"Swimmers had the lowest death rate," explains Blair. He adds that the study
takes into account age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake,
hypertension, other medical factors and family history. "This is the first
report that examined mortality rates among swimmers in comparison with other
types of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle. We conclude that men who
swim for exercise have better survival rates than their sedentary peers," he

The ACLS includes extensive medical and physical activity data on more than
40,000 men, age 20-90 years. "These lower rates in swimmers compared with
walkers and sedentary men might well be expected," comments Dr. Blair, "but it
is surprising that we also observed lower mortality in swimmers than in
runners," he adds. "Therefore, swimming appears to be a healthful alternative
to other types of physical activity." The study population was limited to
white, well-educated, middle- to upper-class men. While this limits the
generalizability of the study, it should not affect the study's internal
validity, advises Blair. He explains that, "there is no compelling reason to
assume that the benefits of swimming would be different for women or for men
in other socioeconomic groups. In an earlier study in this same population we
found that both women and men had similar benefits from swimming in terms of
fitness and other health indicators."

Dr. Blair also found that regular swimmers had a higher cardiorespiratory
fitness than walkers and sedentary people. He concludes that, "Swimming
provides a healthful alternative to traditional modes of exercise for
improving cardiorespiratory fitness and health for the general population, as
well as for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Swimming may be a good
alternative exercise for individuals who cannot participate in running or
other forms of physical activity." Future research will compare injury
information between swimming and other forms of physical activity.

Founded in 1965, National Swimming Pool Foundation(R) (NSPF(R)), which helped
fund this research, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public
health worldwide by encouraging healthier living through aquatic education and
research. NSPF is the leading educator of aquatic facility operators and the
chief philanthropic research sponsor in the aquatics field. For additional
information, visit

For more information about the Swimming Longitudinal Study or to schedule an
interview with Dr. Steven Blair, P.E.D. or Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of
the NSPF, please contact Laurie Batter of BatterUp! Productions, or 760-438-9304.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
appropriate link.
Steven N. Blair
Laurie Batter
Thomas Lachocki, Ph.D

SOURCE  National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)

Laurie Batter of BatterUp! Productions, +1-760-438-9304,, for National Swimming Pool Foundation
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