As we age, it is best to implement as many non-impact cardio options to your training program as you can; whether that is biking, elliptical, rowing, swimming. Sometimes after decades of running and rucking, the body will prefer these options. It also depends on what you actually prefer and learning to like one of these options might serve you well later in life. Here is an email from a retired Army National Guard member seeking some advice on how to add swimming to his day:
Hey Stew - I just turned 65 and I am looking forward to "Tactical Fitness(40+)Foundation Rebuilding". I, put in 24 years in the regular Army Reserves and California Army National Guard. I retired last Tuesday from my regular job with 37.5 years. So now I need to get back in to better fitness condition.
You really have created an inspirational movement in your Tactical Athlete program. My question is – “what is your typical swim training like?“ I do SCUBA training on Mondays and a swim workout on Fridays. Take care! Dave
Dave - Thanks. I love swimming. I have been doing for a long time and know I will be doing more of it as I age. So yes, I agree, adding more swimming to your training programming as these next years take you into your 70-80s. I typically swim 5 days a week at the end of workouts in the weight room / running or cardio room.
I do a few things that really help with feeling great after a workout
1 – 10-minute Tread water warmup. Tread with no hands and with hands only. Use a variety of kicking and arm pulls to work both your hips and your shoulders.
2 - Swim 15-20 minutes (minimum) somedays longer and up to 45-60 minutes both with and without fins.
3 - Do all dynamic stretches you can think of in chest deep water (leg swings, butt kickers, run in place, etc) Also known as the Mobility Day Off.
That will help you leave the gym feeling no pain and THAT is a great thing!
For those of you who have no access to a pool, that is fine, there are plenty of other non-impact cardio options for you as stated above. Here is a related article on the variety of non-impact cardio and the benefits of mixing in these to your training program.
Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles onMilitary.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.