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Swimming Is the Best Exercise, But Lifestyle Is Still More Important

Swimming Is the Best Exercise, But Lifestyle Is Still More Important

Posted October. 10, 2004 23:14,   


“If it is about swimming, even young people can’t compete with me.”

Professor Min Young-il, 63, an otolaryngologist at Seoul Asan Hospital, has reputation of being an excellent swimmer. He has been swimming for over 10 years. He can swim the butterfly for 50 meters. Since the butterfly is hard, even for young swimmers, that fact surprises people.

He has never skipped his swimming. Not even one day. Nowadays, though, he has been seeing too many patients, so he is forced to settle for swimming three times a week.

Most medical doctors over sixty do mountain-climbing or golf. However, he insists on swimming. Why?

“Swimming is aerobic exercise that can be done regardless of one’s age. It is a good exercise for elder people since it doesn’t put stress on your joints. Swimming is also an exercise you can do in moderation according to your physical condition.”

He doesn’t agree with opinions that swimming doesn’t work well for weight loss. He asked how it could be possible that one does not lose weight after a routine that includes swimming over 1,200 meters for an hour. He said it is not possible unless the person swims with very frequent rests.

Nonetheless, he advocates the theory that a healthy lifestyle is more important in preventing diseases than physical exercise. In fact, he has always said, “Exercise is not the only thing that is good for health.” He doesn’t even touch alcohol, and he quit smoking 15 years ago. He never misses an annual physical examination. Exercise is one of good habits he enjoys in his life.

Besides, he is not afraid of trying new sports. It has been four years since he started learning “Taeguk-gwon,” a traditional Chinese martial art, from a Chinese master. He still practices it three times a week.

“Taeguk-gwon helps discipline your mind. It is not just a physical exercise. My breathing becomes regular and I feel clear in my head. I will continue doing this exercise.”

There is another exercise he does every day: stair-climbing. He walks to his research room on the 12th floor four times every day. He doesn’t walk when going down, though. It is because walking downstairs can cause stress on one’s knee joints.