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The Fountain of Youth is IN the Water

Date:  Jul 25-2008

             Southern California is a Mecca of water. Though we are, technically, a desert, pools make us a water haven. We love water. We are drawn to water from as early as we can remember.   They say that 9 out of 10 children will walk right through a puddle. The 10th will sit in it! As adults, we pay huge premiums for real estate with a water view.   Why do you think we are so wired in and attracted to water?
            Infants have a swim reflex. When placed in the water and let go, they have a rhythmic motion of arms and legs which propels them through water. They lose this reflex at about 6 months. We were made for water, and for good reason:
            Dr. Bruce E. Becker, clinical professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the UW School of Medicine, is leading the medical profession in aquatic therapy research. If you want to stay young, or feel better at any age, get in the water. When you sit or stand in warm water to your neck, buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure increase your flow of blood, while simultaneously decreasing your heart rate. Cardiac output is up to 30% higher. This is good for every organ in your body, including your skin, and for increased peripheral circulation.
            Warm water lowers blood pressure for all individuals, even those with hypertension. Arterial blood vessels relax when adjusting to increased blood circulation.
            Immersion in any water, chest deep, increases endurance. Hydrostatic pressure creates a compression on the chest wall, added to the increased blood volume, making it harder to breathe; about 60% harder when immersed to the neck. This strengthens all respiratory muscles, lowers stress hormones and turns out better land based performance and endurance.
            The viscosity of water creates resistance through movement which exercises opposite muscle groups, and releases toxins in the muscles which results in little or no muscle soreness, even when muscles are worked harder. Water increases our range of motion and improves strength and flexibility.
            The attraction to water is wired in our system. The benefits of simple immersion, and many without any other effort, are dramatic. It improves endurance, benefits our pulmonary, musculoskeletal, renal, and endocrine systems, keeping our heart, blood vessels, and lungs healthy. This is what keeps us young! Who hasn’t expressed an audible, “Ahhhhhh,” when submerging into comfortable water?