Swimming is one of the only exercises that works your complete body from head to toe. It’s a great way to gain endurance and agility, strength, and flexibility, all while knowing you’re becoming healthier and happier. And for senior citizens specifically, swimming is perfect because it’s easily modified to fit someone’s needs and abilities. First we’re going to talk more about why swimming is such a great exercise for the elderly, followed by some examples of exercises and activities to do in the water.
Why Swimming Is Great for Seniors
Besides just being a fun and healthy activity, swimming has many benefits, especially for an elderly person. Here are a few of the reasons why swimming is a great sport, activity, exercise, and pastime for your loved senior:
It’s Easy on the Joints Swimming is one of the only exercise where the pressure is literally taken off of your joints. The water will lift and support you, giving the joints a well-earned break, while also strengthening the muscles around them, which could ultimately reduce joint pain and other complications.
It Results in Increased Flexibility and Toned Muscles These two aspects—flexibility and strength—should be sought after, no matter how old you are. They will help a senior citizen move and get around easier, thus, making their life easier and more independent.
It Reduces the Risk or Symptoms of Other Conditions One apparent benefit from swimming is the reduced risk of osteoporosis, or the decrease in the density of the bones. Swimming can also reduce the risk of heart failure and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions. Besides physical health, swimming can also improve mental health by producing endorphins and providing an opportunity to relax and de-stress.
It Can Be a Social Activity It’s important as a caregiver to encourage social activities for seniors, and swimming is a great opportunity to be social. Whether they take the same classes or just spend time with each other in the water, they can talk, have fun, and grow together.
Ways for a Senior to Be Active in the Pool
Throughout this post, we’ve used the word “swimming” in a general sense. In reality, we mean “swimming” to be any activity in the pool. Due to senior’s varying physical abilities and limitations, it’s important to have different options to consider when it comes to swimming or any other physical activity. Here are some examples of how senior citizens can get involved in the pool.
Just Swimming This is the most apparent answer. If your loved one is physically able, swimming laps for half an hour would be immensely beneficial to them. They could modify the workout by taking kickboard breaks, where they just kick instead of fully swim. They can also diversify their workouts with different strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle would all be great and an easily modified workout.
Water Aerobics Classes Water aerobics classes are also great and fun ways to get in the pool and exercise, while also inviting the social aspect talked about previously.
Water Walking A more relaxed version of a water aerobics session would be to water-walk. It’s as simple as walking back and forth across the shallow end of the pool. Because there’s resistance from the water, this is actually a great exercise. And it’s made all the more fun if a buddy is present to talk to while walking.
Water Relaxation Classes These classes are probably lesser known, but they’re the perfect opportunity to reduce stress, while being in the water. These classes can come in different forms, like water yoga, for instance. Besides the benefits of mental health, these classes can also help improve balance, which reduces the risk of falling.
Swimming is a great exercise for anyone, but seniors especially. However, it’s important to remember that before any new exercise regime, you should gain approval from your loved one’s doctor. And when they’re doing the exercise, make sure they’re not alone and that you’re aware of how their feeling.
Angels Senior Home Solutions is a based-in-faith company that provides in-home healthcare and personal care services for seniors. Visit our website here or find us on Facebook or Twitter!