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Top 5 Everlasting Health Tips From Olympic Champion In Aquatics

An individual who has accomplished numerous successes in the competitive aquatic arena is Judy Young. In the current year alone, she has secured seven first-place accolades and established six age-group achievements across seven different competitions. These include triumphs in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard backstroke, as well as the 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-yard freestyle.

What sets Young apart is not only her remarkable athletic prowess but also her age. Born in 1926, she is a 96-year-old swimmer who refuses to allow her age to hinder her ability to clinch gold medals and set new benchmarks at YMCA National swim meets.

Young recounts her deep-seated affinity for swimming, which she nurtured from childhood. She reflects, “Eventually, my sons joined me in the swimming lane, and at one point, we even competed alongside each other as part of the same team.” Despite over half a century spent swimming, her competitive journey did not commence until the late ’80s when she began participating in local and subsequently national events. She shares, “And I haven’t slowed down since then.”

Presently, she maintains a regular swimming routine at her local YMCA. Having also served as a volunteer at the Y for many years and occupied the role of the executive director’s secretary from 1971 to 1987, Young reveals, “I dedicate two days a week to swimming at the YMCA, in addition to participating in competitive swimming through YMCA leagues.” She elaborated, “My primary focus is on freestyle and backstroke, preparing diligently for the upcoming 2023 Senior games—with the national event scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh this year.”

How does she continue to excel at such a high level? Fortunately, she has graciously shared her top five recommendations for nurturing a prolonged, fitness-oriented lifestyle.

1. Engage in physical activity daily

Abiding by the adage “Keep moving to stay in motion,” Young advocates for an active lifestyle. She asserts, “Maintaining physical activity is essential.” Notably, following surgery, her swift recovery was attributed to her longstanding commitment to a vibrant and healthful routine.

2. Alternate between cardio and strength training—while prioritizing rest

Remaining active need not entail adhering rigidly to an intense workout regimen every single day. Young underscores the importance of integrating aerobic exercises (such as swimming, walking, cycling, and rowing) alongside strength-training activities (like weightlifting) to cultivate a holistic approach to fitness.

It is crucial not to overexert yourself by exercising seven days a week. Reflecting on her personal experience, Young emphasizes, “To prevent injury, I remain active but allow myself ample recovery time.” She credits her successful recuperation from a hip replacement in 2019 to faithfully following her physical therapy regimen and awaiting the green signal from her PT before resuming swimming.

3. Embrace outdoor workouts when weather permits—especially through walking

Regardless of age, Young exemplifies the benefits of regular strolls. Beyond improving cardiovascular health, outdoor workouts elevate vitamin D levels, which can significantly enhance mood—especially during the drearier winter months.

4. Prioritize mental well-being

Physical fitness is not the sole aspect to focus on as one ages. “Strengthen your cognitive abilities through activities like playing cards, reading, or solving puzzles,” suggests Young.

(For inspiration, consider exploring the offerings from Ordinary Habit and Piecework Puzzles—both offer stunning options that serve as both art pieces and eloquent coffee table displays.)

5. Revel in the journey

Despite your best efforts, you cannot force yourself into a healthier lifestyle through self-loathing. Should you harbor disdain for the process, consistency is unlikely to ensue. Thus, Young emphasizes the importance of embracing an activity you genuinely enjoy.

She imparts, “My primary counsel to aspiring swimmers or those contemplating entering the realm of swimming is to derive pleasure from it.” Acknowledging swimming’s myriad benefits—not only its joint-friendly nature but also its synergy of aerobic and overall exercise—Young underscores her enduring passion for swimming and physical activity, asserting, “I continue to engage in it purely out of enjoyment.”

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