100-year-old swims her way to a world record

Swimming is known to be one of the best physical activities for those with limited mobility or muscle and joint injuries. The buoyancy of the water causes swimmers to feel weightless, so they can work out and get in some cardio without placing too much strain on their muscles, making it a great activity for seniors looking to maintain their health. According to CNN, senior Mieko Nagaoka took this information to heart and started swimming much later in life as a means of therapy after hurting her knee*. At the time, she was in her 80s. Now, at the age of 100, she's being named the world's first centenarian to complete a 1,500 meter freestyle swim.

Breaking records
Once Nagaoka was introduced to water therapy, she couldn't get enough of the sport of swimming. She began frequenting the pool and trying out different techniques before mastering her form. She trains four times a week, for two hours at a time.

"She is some woman. The world's first means no one has done it," her son, Hiroki Nagaoka, told CNN. "It was awesome that my mother has challenged and accomplished her goal at her age. She still uses her brain and tries to figure out the best way to swim, she still even tries to change her swimming form to challenge for a record. I'm really proud of her."

"Her accomplishment will be hard to beat."

When the time came to put her skills to the test at the Japan Masters Swimming Association event in Matsuyama, Ehime, she was the only competitor in the 100-104 age bracket – but that didn't keep her from giving the competition her best effort. She chose to swim the backstroke and completed the event in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 54 seconds. Her accomplishment will be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, and it will certainly be hard to beat!

Water therapy
Nagaoka may not have set this record if it had not been for her experience with water therapy. Originally using it to treat her knee pain, the activity can be used to help improve range of motion in many other areas of the body. Not only that, but it can also help to manage the symptoms of many age-related conditions, like arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, making it an ideal method of exercise for seniors.

Those with multiple sclerosis and other illnesses that affect mobility can also benefit from water therapy*, noted Healthline. Water-based activities can take the weight off stressed muscles and joints, and it can also help improve MS-related fatigue. The water has natural energizing qualities, and those who use a pool for exercise can reap all of the health and mental benefits of it.

Chartwell Retirement Residences provides seniors with an exciting array of exercise classes that allow them to work out according to their own physical abilities. For a sample list of programs, click here.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:

  1. CNN. "Centenarian swimmer from Japan breaks 1500m record"(2015), Online: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/06/sport/100-year-old-swimmer-record-holder/
  2. healthline. "https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-water-therapy#1", Online: http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-water-therapy#1