Why swimmers can improve with age.
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on December 15th, 2009

From a thread on the TI Discussion Forum about how we learn

Posted by haschu33

I regard age as experience and effectiveness, and there is no need for overwhelming muscle power and relentless activity. It might not be necessary to answer whether we increase effectiveness because we lose physical power or lose physical power because we increase our effectiveness. The fact is we should learn easier, more effectively and faster with age.

Reply by Terry
For me, the potential to be a Kaizen Learner – to steadily improve your learning capacity with age — is the most empowering and hopeful aspect of life experience. In observing many Masters swimmers, it is so evident how steady is the decline in performance when they rely on sheer physical effort to swim well.

But if you can improve your perception, sensitivity, touch, coordination and concentration enough, you can nearly balance out whatever is lost in aerobic or muscle power. And in some cases actually get better with age.

One reason I feel particularly fortunate to be a swimmer is that I’m convinced it offers unmatched potential to maintain your performance level through greater efficiency and effectiveness. In land sports, performance is so much a battle against gravity, and there is simply no way to finesse gravity.

In the water, you have the opportunity to improve  performance via “problem-solving.” And the range of problems is so wide — balance, stability, drag, elusive traction — and each can be finessed to a considerable degree.

Swimming is aging-appropriate for more reasons than being low-impact.

One Response to “Why swimmers can improve with age.”

  1. Dean says:

    I like the “problem solving” aspect of swimming soooo much! It is very motivating and challenging. Having just turned 50 trying to increase efficiency is paramount to keep improving. I am now on my 8th full year of swimming having started as an adult and still have lots of technique that I am learning so I am still getting faster but it is not because of increasing muscle power, I am finding it through the process of problem solving and Kaizen.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.