Do you have a love-hate relationship with exercise? As we age, exercise often becomes harder because of the impact on the bones and joints. Physical activities like jogging, aerobics, playing sports, and even walking can be hard on the musculoskeletal system, making you want to avoid exercise all together.
Luckily there are lower-impact exercises like swimming that allow seniors to stay active without putting too much pressure on your bones and joints. Healthy aging is all about the balance of physical, mental and emotional activity, and swimming exercises are a perfect place to start.
Health Benefits of Swimming Exercises for Seniors
Swimming keeps your heart rate up, but the water helps take some of the impact stress off your body. Some swimmers even say it’s soothing and relaxing – a good way to destress and unwind. You should consider taking up swimming because it:
- Provides a full-body workout.
Rather than target one part of the body, like your arms, abdomen, or legs, swimming uses nearly all of the muscles of your body. This helps improve muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, since workouts that use your muscles keep your heart rate up and build endurance.
- Is good for your heart.
As mentioned above, swimming is a cardiovascular exercise. It’s like other physical activities like running or aerobics, except it doesn’t put increased pressure on your joints. It gets your heart pumping faster improving your heart strength over time. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with age (as much as 70% of people aged 60-79 may have some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure), so any type of exercise that strengthens the heart is one to consider.
- Improves mental health.
It’s true that physical activity is good for not just your body, but your mind, too. Swimming is no different. If you like being in water, swimming is something you can enjoy with your friends and family. While using your muscles, you’re also building and strengthening relationships, socializing, and increasing oxygen flow to the brain. All of this does wonders for your mental health, helping to lower risk of conditions like depression and anxiety.
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis.
Remember how we mentioned swimming is easy on the bone and joints because it’s low impact? Studies have found that swimming reduces the progression of osteoporosis (loss of bone density and strength) because it improves and maintains bone strength. Since osteoporosis risk increases with age, swimming is one way to combat that risk.
- Increased flexibility and better posture.
You may not feel like you’re doing much stretching when you swim, but because you’re using your entire body and all of it’s muscles, swimming is actually an ideal way to increase flexibility. Water’s buoyancy and resistance helps make this possible. Why work towards increased flexibility and better posture as you age? Both can help reduce aches and pains, especially back pain.
- It’s easy to learn.
You can set your own pace if you decide to give swimming a try. There are many swimming exercises for seniors, including treading water, doing shoulder or calf presses using natural resistance from the water, or slowly swimming from one side of the pool to the other. The beauty of swimming is there are no set rules to follow – you decide what works best for you.
Many continuing care retirement communities offer a variety of features and amenities that help you stay active, including swimming pools, whirlpools, and fitness centers. For seniors, moving to a senior living community is the best way to find endless opportunities to stay active.
Choosing a retirement community is a big decision, and we’re here to help in any way we can. And, with our recent expansion, we now have an indoor heated pool that you can take advantage of to stay active. Senior living should make life easier, not harder. Learn more about the senior living lifestyle at Immanuel Lutheran Communities today.