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Research Comparison of the Health Aspects of Swimming With Other Types of Physical Activity and Sedentary Lifestyle Habits

Swimming, water jogging, and aqua aerobics might provide health benefits to the general population, as well as patients with chronic diseases. Research on the health benefits of aquatic exercise in comparison with activities such as running and walking is scarce, however. The goal of this study was to evaluate characteristics of participants in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study and to compare health habits and physiological characteristics among swimmers, runners, walkers, and sedentary women and men to evaluate the health benefits of swimming compared with other types of physical activity. Participants were 10,518 women and 35,185 men age 20–88 years who completed a health examination between 1970 and 2005. Differences in the distribution of selected characteristics between swimmers and those participating in other types of activities (sedentary, walkers, or runners) were tested using logistic regression for proportions and ANOVA for continuous vari­ables. The principal findings of this report are that swimming, as well as walking and running, has health benefits compared with a sedentary lifestyle.

Authors: Nancy L. Chase, Xuemei Sui, Steven N. Blair

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