THE BLOG

Why You Should Be A Swinger

02/24/2015 07:20 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015

2015-02-19-mirabelswing.jpg

Do you want to do something easy and fun that will make you weightless? Do you want to feel the breeze in your hair as you float through the air while laughing out loud? Go swing. You can do it alone or with a group of people of all ages. And, it's legal!

The feeling of being weightless for even a second ranks right up there with the euphoric sensation of speeding down an open coastal highway in a convertible with Tina Turner singing in the passenger seat. Most of us don't have the road, the car, or a connection with Turner, but we can scamper over to the city park and grab a swing. Now it's cool to be a swinger, and you don't need instructions, batteries, or a note from your doctor. If you're still unsure, it's handy to have a child along for encouragement.

Many health clubs advocate the many advantages of swinging. Not wanting to be left alone in the sandbox, scientific researchers are pumping out studies that extol the mental health benefits of getting a natural high. Here are some of the sophisticated findings from professionals and preschoolers.

1. Swinging combines the exciting combination of freedom while you retain control of how fast or high you want to go on a suspended pendulum.

2. For every hour you swing, you can burn 200 calories. Go play and then you can justify having a glass of wine!

3. Swinging is good for your physical health. It can condition joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The activity is good for pelvic muscles and helps with balance.

4. Swinging is good for your mental health. You rarely see grumpy people on a swing set. Usually swingers of all ages are laughing out loud as they swing through the fresh outside air.

5. Swinging is used in Sensory Integration Therapy for people with special needs. A leading study on child development, logically titled "The Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds," concluded that the rhythm of swinging can soothe and relax a child with developmental issues such as Autism. The simple swaying motions can provide a crucial foundation for later, more complex learning and behavior. Swinging also safely integrates a special needs child into a group of children without disabilities because they can all swing without competition or fear of failure. And, they all laugh with the same gusto.

6. Finally, swinging is a great activity for grandparents and their grandchildren. According to a certain 5-year-old expert in swinging, I am eligible and invited to swing and laugh with her on a regular basis. Another advantage is that the activity is user-friendly because there are no scattered toys to pick up and put away.

The next time you're having a stressful day, go to a nearby park, find a swing set, and turn your iPod and headphones to Tina Turner singing "Proud Mary." You don't need any customized athletic wear or a personal trainer. Just sit, pump, and soar. The feeling is better and cheaper than therapy. Admit it. You've always wanted to be a swinger.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Dr. Colvin's Advice For Staying Active After 50