Secrets of a Long and Happy Life: Just Keep Swimming!

4 January, 2018

Feeling all at sea about New Year's resolutions? No fear!

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

That's the advice of Gold Coast super fish turned health coach Karla Gilbert. Unrivalled in the surf, Australia's most decorated Ironwoman – holding two world titles, three national championships and seven series crowns, alongside four stand-up paddle (SUP) Australian titles – has always found health, fitness and happiness in her own back yard.

Born and raised on the Gold Coast – a destination famed for 57km of coastline, set to shine this April as the most iconic beach backdrop in Commonwealth Games history – Karla is a believer in the power of the ocean and nature as the ultimate leveler. Swimming in it, she says, might just change your life. Read Karla Gilbert's tips on why ocean swimming is the perfect exercise for body and mind.

New Year. New You? Yo! Kickin' it

To celebrate summer, join a community of the world's happiest people (yes, studies prove it) by diving into one of the fastest growing recreational sports on the planet: ocean swimming. An activity that can reportedly help you live longer, look younger, burn more calories than running and football and even boost your IQ!

Check out Queensland's Top 5 Ocean Swims (guaranteed: this video will bring out your inner mermaid/merman) then mark your calendars for epic ocean swimming events from the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef – with the chance to circumnavigate Green Island or make a splash off World No. 2 Beach, Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays – alongside a line-up of other epic 'fit-cations' heroed on the It's Live! in Queensland calendar of endurance events

Did you know?

  • The Earth's surface is mostly water – about 71 per cent of it, with oceans accounting for roughly 96.5 per cent.
  • Every second breath you take comes from the ocean. The ocean and waterways are Mother Nature's lungs, producing more than half the oxygen we breathe.
  • Water is a very part of you. Your blood (90 per cent water); heart (79 per cent water); and even brain (83 per cent water)!
  • According to global studies, swimming – particularly in the ocean, immersed in nature – has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety; reduce inflammation; strengthen the immune system; lower incidence of cardiovascular disease; relieve allergies and hay fever; aid flexibility; improve lung capacity and respiratory health; boost circulation; ease skin complaints like psoriasis and eczema; not to mention kick-start natural endorphin 'highs'.
  • Using seawater for health and wellness has a name: thalassotherapy. Since the 1700s, doctors across Europe recommended patients 'go to the seaside' to improve all manner of ills, from scurvy to jaundice, leprosy and glandular fever.
  • Swimming in the ocean's mineral-rich water can even help you look younger! Oceans, as opposed to rivers, contain higher levels of magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulphate and calcium. Swimming regularly in salt water has been found to help the skin retain moisture and detoxify, in turn promoting new cell growth.
  • Swimming is the perfect all-body exercise at any age, combining the benefits of aerobic exercise (minus high-impact stress on bones, muscles and joints), strength conditioning and deep rhythmic breathing.
  • Swimming (notably in the ocean) uses more muscles than running, football or baseball. It also burns more calories: energetic swimming for one hour can reportedly burn up to 784 calories, compared to bike riding (483 calories) and running (557 calories).
  • Hydrotherapy is used extensively in injury rehabilitation.
  • Some studies suggest swimming may even boost your sex life.
  • Swimming helps you live longer. According to a US study by the University of South Carolina, which tracked 40,547 men aged 20 to 90 over a period of 32 years, those who swam had a 50 per cent lower death rate than those who ran, walked or didn't exercise.
  • Being in, on, by or under water is said to have a calming effect on the mind, even changing or slowing down brain waves. Research shows swimming can reverse damage to the brain caused by stress via a process called hippocampal neurogenesis.
  • Swimming can boost your intelligence. Australian research found kids who took swimming lessons (compared to a control group of non-swimmers) more quickly mastered language development, fine motor skills, confidence and physical development.
  • Adding it up: swimming can help fast track math skills, with swimmers required to calculate meters swum in sets or interval drills.
  • And finally, listen up! The speed of sound in water is five times faster than in air.


For more information please contact:

Shelley Thomas, Tourism and Events Queensland

Phone: 07 3535 5665 / 0422 041 285

Word Count: 700

Author: Shelley Thomas

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