Whether it’s the butterfly, backstroke, sidestroke, or doggie paddle, swimming is super exercise. It’s aerobic, relaxing, and joyful, and many doctors think swimming is the perfect exercise for seniors. It’s ideal because it’s non-impact and beneficial across various ages and abilities—those with injuries, degenerative conditions, beginners, and fitness buffs.
Many seniors think exercise is just a distant memory due to obstacles like pain, decreased endurance and balance, and risk of injury. The fact of the matter is that water exercises get aging adults moving in a safe, comfortable, and rewarding way. Here are eight ways that swimming benefits seniors and conquers their exercise concerns. Grab your swimsuit, and let’s dive into the numerous and undeniable benefits of swimming for seniors!
1. No Weight on Your Joints
Anything you do in the water is the ultimate low-impact exercise. This means you’re not exerting a jarring force on your joints. The reason is that water supports about 90% of your body weight when you’re in the pool—so you float through your exercise session with no pressure on your joints. In this relatively weightless environment, with support from the water, you can overcome painful movement caused by arthritis and other health conditions.
2. A Healthier Brain
Before you even move a muscle, immersing yourself in water increases blood flow to your brain. The benefits of this good blood flow include improved concentration, memory, mood, and cognitive function. Studies show that swimming as a senior may even help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.
3. A Workout for Your Heart
By swimming regularly, you reap cardiovascular benefits to your long-term health. If your heart is strong, it pumps blood more efficiently for improved circulation throughout your body—including the brain. The bottom line is that regular aerobic exercise, like swimming, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
4. A Lift for Your Mood
Almost all the senses are involved when you swim: sight, sound, touch, and smell, and if you’re not careful, sometimes taste! The rhythmic strokes and breath create a focus that soothes. The feel of water moving over your body is a sensation much like a massage. Unless it’s a bustling pool, the calm and quiet surroundings alleviate stress, encourage relaxation, and even spark creativity. In actuality, swimming is a form of mindfulness.
5. Better Flexibility and Range of Motion
As we age, most of us lose some range of motion. That’s not a problem in the water! The buoyancy of the water allows swimmers to move their arms and legs more easily through the full range of motion. Regular swimming helps keep joints supple and improves flexibility—an essential aspect of health and well-being for older adults. For those with a limited range of motion on land, stretching in the water can even improve flexibility.
6. Improved Muscle Strength and Tone
Going for a dip in the pool is a full-body exercise that tones every major muscle group. The natural resistance of the water helps strengthen muscles faster than any land-based exercise. If you’re doing laps, different strokes focus on different muscle groups, so using a combination of strokes will get you the all-over tone you want.
7. Reduced Risk of Fall
We’ve already established that swimming works for all the major muscle groups. With stronger muscles overall, especially the upper body, core muscles, and leg muscles, your posture and stability are improved, reducing the risk of falls.
8. Stronger, Happier Back
With gravity out of the way, you don’t have to worry about your posture or the weight of your body on your spine when exercising. And you don’t have to be a lap swimmer to reap real benefits. You can use water for gentle exercise as well. It can be as simple as walking in waist-deep water, taking the pressure off your joints and back while still getting movement.
Swimming at The Cabana at Jensen Dunes
We are so certain of the health benefits of swimming that we are one of the few assisted living communities that offer our residents a pool and aquatic exercise program. It’s a jewel in our community. Our residents benefit from year-round lap swimming, aqua classes, and recreational swimming. Our pool area is as relaxing and social as it is healthful. We even incorporate water exercises for our residents receiving physical rehabilitation because of water’s gentle resistance and help with balance.
To learn more about The Cabana at Jensen Dunes and our lifestyle, including our wellness and exercise programs, and all the reasons you’ll love it here, call us at 772-758-1003 or visit our website at JensenDunes.com