Posted by: 4pack | August 21, 2008

Michael Phelps At 75: Swimming Is Great Exercise For Ideal Weight and Shape

OGGIES, ESPECIALLY OUR SENIOR OGGIES, CAN BENEFIT FROM SWIMMING TO MAINTAIN LEAN MUSCLE AND BURN CALORIES…ALONG WITH YOGA, SWIMMING IS IDEAL FOR OGGIES OVER 60 DUE TO ITS LOW IMPACT…WE HAVE EXCERPTED HERE AN ARTICLE APPEARING IN THE NEW YORK TIMES….

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/fashion/21fitness.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin 

Researchers at the Counsilman

FULL SPEED AHEAD Stanley Shechter, 75, has shaved time in the 100-yard freestyle. Photographs by Filip Kwiatkowski for The New York Times

FULL SPEED AHEAD Stanley Shechter, 75, has shaved time in the 100-yard freestyle. Photographs by Filip Kwiatkowski for The New York Times

Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University have found that the larger population of Masters swimmers (made up of 42,500 members ages 18 to 100-plus) has become faster over the last 20 years in age groups from 25 to 55, said Joel Stager, the director of the center.

As people age, they lose muscle mass and cardiovascular capacity, which declines at a rate of 1 to 1.5 percent annually. But for those who exercise regularly, the rate of decline is slower, researchers say.

“Before, it was thought that athletes peak at 25,” said Scott Trappe, the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. “But now this whole paradigm is getting shifted. People are paying attention to their own fitness and nutrition.”

Swimmers can compensate for their body’s natural decline mostly because the water rewards those who are more technically proficient, and also because unlike running or cycling, the sport is non-weight-bearing and enables prolonged participation. “People can and do get faster, despite the fact that they may be 10, 20 years older than when they first started,” Dr. Stager said.

Stanley Shechter, 75, is still trying to master the dolphin kick, but finds an alternating-leg flutter kick to be more effective.

Mr. Shechter straightened his arms, keeping them close to his ears, and held the pose underwater. “It’s tough to hold your arms for that long,” he said. “But it works.”

Mr. Shechter attributes his improvement to practicing five days a week, but is mindful not to go too far. That approach, too, represents advanced training filtered down from many elite programs.

Coaches and swimmers have discovered that less is sometimes more, especially in events no longer than 100 yards, as is the case with Mr. Shechter. In 2003, he swam the 100-meter freestyle at the Masters national meet in 1:23.46. In May, he won the 75- to 79-year-old division at the nationals in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:12.67.

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