Recent Blog Articles

Exercise & Fitness

Simplify your workout with lap swimming

July 1, 2019

About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
View all posts by Heidi Godman


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


Paul Tagney
July 10, 2019

At age 73, I try to swim laps 2-3 times a week.
I swim always in the slow lane, often treading water in the deep end, or with my head on the edge of the pool in the shallow end, I do the equivalent of stationary biking.
When actually lapping, it’s breast stroke, side stroke, or back strokes, as you suggested.
When I go into the pool, I stay in for 1 hour, enjoying the above mentioned combos.
I feel great after, all muscles are awake, and then I enjoy my several cool/low warm showers per week to do the normal sufficient body cleansing.
Thanks for another great article that supports my healthy senior life-style

July 10, 2019

I swim regularly and agree with the author about the good effects–however my oncologist thinks I need weight strengthening for bones that swimming does not give me, so I have added those styrofoam barbells to my water aerobics to give me the benefits of resistance in the water. So now my laps give me endurance and flexibility while the weights give me strength.

July 6, 2019

Used to swim laps, recently discovered that my skin seems to be sensitizing to the chlorine used to sanitize most pools in the US (in the EU, ozone gas is often used), even if I shower/use soap immediately after getting out of the pool.

I can swim in salt water w/no problem but unfortunately need a wetsuit to swim in the salt water available to me now.

David R. Torres, MD
July 6, 2019

One way of conceptualizing thinking understanding, reasoning and problem solving is that our mind creates three dimensional images related to how we project ourselves and our loved ones into a future we imagine. We hold images related to how to change the world or if we cannot change it we consider how to survive in it. The body stores a vast fund of three dimensional images that we recall as emotions sensations and feelings. When mind meets body, these two data sets are organized into a probabilistic hierarchy where the action plan with the highest chance of successfully our goal bubbles to the top of all ways of behaving similar to a web search. Swimming helps sharpen thinking by making the connection between mind and brain more organized in a weightless void uniquely able to off load dorsal column fiber pathways we always use while erect. This enables the brain to develop new unique connection through synaptogenesis and neurogenesis in a highly efficient manner which is especially important in traumatic brain injured individuals
DR Torres

Marcos Severo
July 2, 2019

very good research. “There is no drug in current or prospective use that holds as much promise for sustained health as a lifetime program of physical exercise.”

IN 1982, Dr. Walter Bortz II, a university professor of medicine, wrote the above words. Over the past 23 years, numerous health experts and organizations have quoted these words in books, magazines, and Web pages. Evidently, today Dr. Bortz’s advice is just as current as it was in 1982, and it is still widely accepted as sound and relevant. So we do well to ask ourselves, ‘Am I getting enough exercise?’

Commenting has been closed for this post.

You might also be interested in…

Workout Workbook: 9 complete workouts to help you get fit and healthy

The numbers are shocking. Just two out of 10 American adults meet recommended levels of physical activity. Nearly three out of 10 Americans ages 6 and older admit they aren’t active at all, despite reams of research proving that exercise is a powerful preventive, and sometimes an antidote, for disability and illness. This Special Health Report, Workout Workbook: 10 complete workouts to help you get fit and healthy, features nine excellent workouts that will challenge your body and spirit in a variety of ways while warding off boredom.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.