Swimming can be a wonderful activity for seniors looking for a fun and accessible way to keep active and stay fit. Swimming is an incredible form of exercise that many seniors enjoy all year round. Whether it be indoor swim sessions, water aerobics classes, or outdoor fun in the sun, swimming is an accessible way for seniors to get their bodies moving and stay active.
With the many physical changes that come with growing older, seniors may begin to find it more challenging to engage in all the same forms of exercise or activity that they may have enjoyed in the past. But water exercise remains manageable and enjoyable for many seniors, even as they adapt to their changing bodies. Being in the water helps take some of the stress off of aging joints while at the same time increasing strength and balance.
Why Water-Based Activities Are So Helpful for Seniors
There are a variety of reasons that swimming and other water-based activities are great for seniors.
- Low Impact = Less Pain: The buoyancy involved in exercising in water puts less strain and impact on the joints and can therefore provide a great opportunity for movement without pain.
- Stronger Muscles: Movement in water involves natural resistance that makes it a strength-training activity. Faster movement creates greater resistance and, therefore, more muscle work. Through swimming, water aerobics, and other water sports, seniors can grow stronger without having to use weights and can take it at their own pace.
- Bone Health: Training the body in ways that increase strength can help keep bones strong and maintain healthy bone density. This can help to reduce the risks and progression of conditions like Osteoporosis.
- More Flexibility: The reduced impact of moving around in the water can allow seniors an opportunity to use and extend their joints in ways that can help cultivate better flexibility. Being more flexible can help seniors to feel better overall, as well as to prevent falls and injury more easily.
- Heart Health: Swimming is an aerobic activity and a form of cardio exercise. Getting the heart rate up while swimming helps the heart to become stronger and more efficient.
- Cognitive Exercise: Along with physical movement, swimming also exercises the brain and can be a mental workout for seniors. Research shows that swimming can help improve memory, cognitive function, immune response, and mood. There have also been links demonstrated between swimming and forming new neural connections in the brain to repair damaged pathways.
- Socialization: Swimming is an activity that can easily and enjoyably be done with other people, so seniors can bask in the company of others while also exercising their bodies. Making a point to get together with friends, family members, and groups to go swimming can help get seniors out of the house and engage with others in a meaningful way.
Swimming can be a fun activity for seniors that also helps to keep them healthy and fit. It is a great activity to exercise the entire body to improve flexibility, coordination, and balance. It is an excellent way to exercise stiff joints and sore muscles that plague many seniors as they get older.