Swimming for Seniors
For seniors looking to stay active and reap some of the many health benefits of exercise, swimming can be a great and effective way to stay moving and boost their health and mood. Swimming is not only fun and relaxing, but it also poses less risk of injury than many other activities, and it can be done by people of all ages and many different levels of health or ability. It also does not require any special training or special equipment beyond a volume of water large enough for swimming, and it’s one of the best ways to beat the heat on a hot summer day.
The wide range of benefits that swimming gives are great for seniors and can be a great way to gently exercise the body.
- Swimming is gentle on the joints and body. Even seniors suffering from arthritis or issues and other conditions limiting their mobility can enjoy swimming. The buoyancy provided by water allows swimming uniquely to not put any strain on joints the way other exercises can, because it is not weight bearing. Warm water can also help to loosen up stiff muscles or aching joints.
- Swimming can work the whole body. Depending on what particular swimming stroke or set of movements used, you can engage many different sets of muscles at the same time. Virtually all swimming strokes are compound exercises that require using multiple muscle groups together to successfully perform them. Swimming can be a great and enjoyable way to strengthen the muscles and increase the flexibility of your body without putting any undue stress on your back, hips, knees, or other problem joints.
- It can also enhance your cardiovascular health. Exercising in the water regularly will build your endurance and strengthen your heart and lungs, whether you do swimming or water aerobics. Going above and below water in the course of exercising as well is a great way to learn to control and expand your breathing, as well as improve your circulation.
- Your mental health can benefit as well. Swimming is an activity that can be done alone, with friends, or with a group class. Getting together to work out in the pool can be a fantastic way to socialize and have fun while exercising. Combining social time and physical activity together can be a powerful way to reap the benefits of both, alleviating stress and boosting confidence while improving your strength and flexibility. Simply being able to move about more freely and with less joint pain can enhance your mood.
Exercising in the water doesn’t simply mean swimming either. There are a multitude of ways to exercise in the pool, such as:
- Swimming laps. By challenging yourself to learn different strokes and improve your lap time, you can develop your fitness and improve your technique.
- Exercise classes. Many recreation centers and pools have aquatic exercise classes specifically for seniors. They may include things like water aerobics, water dancing, water walking, or water yoga. An instructor will lead you through exercises and techniques while working with you on form, safety, and proper movements.