Senior Healthcare Advisors
As seniors, we have been hearing about the numerous benefits of exercising all of our lives. It improves heart health, gives us stronger muscles, and increases our flexibility. But, it also lowers the risk of falling and enhances our mental acuity and mood.
Health Benefits of Swimming for Seniors
Swimming is especially beneficial to seniors, because it doesn’t add strain or stress on the body. Swimming is an ideal workout mainly because it is low impact and presents little risk of injury. When you're in the water exercising, you are working out all of the muscle groups in your body, providing you with a total and complete workout. The following is only a few of the health benefits swimming has to offer seniors.
Improves heart health. Swimming strengthens your heart and improves endurance and cardiovascular health. It also helps to improve circulation, lower your blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart and lung disease.
Gentle on the joints. Because swimming does not bear weight on your joints, it is easier on your joints and provides you with a full-body exercise that keeps the pressure off of your knees, spine, and hips.
Reduces the risk of osteoporosis. One-third of women over the age of 50 and one-fifth of men over 50 experience a bone fracture because of osteoporosis. Swimming helps fight osteoporosis by improving BMD (bone mineral density).
Improve muscle strength and tone. Each movement you make in water exercises every muscle group. Swimming is a great way to apply resistance training to your workout, as it will improve your muscle strength. You will notice muscle tone form, the more you swim.
Increases flexibility. Stretching before and after you exercise is a great way to regain flexibility, as does swimming. Swimming increases your flexibility in your arms, legs, hips, and neck. It can also relieve back pain and improve your posture.
Boosts mental health. Swimming is a great way to lower your stress levels, increase your brain function, and improve your mood. You can buddy up with other seniors to help keep you socializing, and prevent loneliness and social isolation.
Lower risk of falls: A review of various scholarly articles on the Internet revealed that swimming is the best exercise for preventing falls. One 4-year study (N=1,700 senior men) found a 33% decrease in the amount of falls (N=2,700 falls) for those who swam when compared to those doing other types of exercises.
Types of Water Exercises
There are four central types of aquacise that people of all ages can enjoy. Water aerobics are often tailored to seniors and are usually offered at many fitness centers and community pools. These usually entail water dancing, walking, and other fun exercises similar to those you do on land.
Just swimming however you want is very beneficial to your health and wellness, especially for seniors. If you haven’t swam for a while, don’t hesitate to sign up for a class and you will quickly be able to build up your workout to thirty minutes.
Water resistance exercises, such as calf raises (tippy-toes), arm circles, and leg lifts, in the pool are better for your joints than standard weight lifting, as the water is the resistance.
Water relaxation activities can help lower your heart rate, stress levels, and blood pressure. Try Aqua yoga; it is a common water exercise used in senior swimming classes.
Improve your quality of life by going to your local pool! Of course, with any new exercise program, make sure you consult your doctor before you start.
Seek your doctor’s approval. Exercising can potentially cause problems, if you have pre-existing issues or injuries.
Know the body of water. If you are swimming in the ocean or in a lake, beware of hidden coral or rocks, sudden drop-offs, and any critters that may enjoy the same waters. While swimming in natural bodies of water can feel more spiritual, starting off in a swimming pool until you have reached being physically strong enough to encounter any obstacles in a natural environment, is best.
Take it easy. With all of the benefits available from swimming, your workouts can be counterproductive if you push yourself to the point of getting injured.
Consider a swimming buddy. Having a swimming partner can reduce the risk of dangers, no matter your age. You may like swimming alone because it is so peaceful, but better safe than sorry.
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Call: 1-800-759-0286 TTY/711
The fact that swimming can enhance the quality of your life and enhance your overall health and wellness is no lie! With all of the benefits talked about in this article, you really have no reason not to welcome a dip into the positive changes that swimming can provide for you (pun intended).
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© Copyrighted by Senior Healthcare Advisors
Written by Dr. Marilyn B. Field
Edited by Emily Post