Is swimming the best form of workout? 55000969One more reason why I love SWIMMING! It’s the only sport where you need to regulate breathing, and it exercises nearly every muscle in your body, simultaneously. Here’s another tip: a 2008 study finds a lower death rate among swimmers than walkers or runners.

You can swim with just your arms if you have a bum knee, or with just your legs if you have sore arms. You can swim with arthritis. Or a recently replaced hip.

This study, which involved 40,547 men ages 20-90 who completed health exams between 1971 and 2003, found that “swimmers had lower mortality rates than those who were sedentary, walkers or runners.” The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Swimming Pool Foundation and was published in a new peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education.

The 13-year study, Steven Blair, a leading exercise scientist from the University of South Carolina, says, does “show that swimmers have lower death rates” than sedentary people, walkers and runners. “That’s what the data shows.” Over the course of the study, 1,336 of the 20,356 runners (or 6.6%) had died, compared with only 11 of the 562 swimmers (1.9%). “That small number of [swimmer] deaths could lead to erroneous conclusions,” he says.