During the hot, long days of summer, there’s no better way to cool off than a nice dip in the pool. Other than offering relief from the summer heat, swimming has numerous physical and mental health benefits, especially for seniors. Let’s explore how this fun, refreshing form of exercise can help improve your quality of life; plus three simple exercises to try the next time there’s a pool or body of water nearby.
5 Health Benefits of Swimming for Seniors
- Gentle on the Joints: Swimming is a low-impact exercise, which means it’s not weight-bearing and is easy on your knees, hips and back. Swimming provides a full-body workout while the water offers a comforting cushion, keeping pressure off your sensitive joints.
- Great for Your Heart: Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise. This aerobic activity gets your heart pumping faster than usual, which makes your heart stronger and healthier over time. Swimming also decreases your risk of developing heart disease, increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.
- Improves Your Flexibility: Through swimming, you will find increased flexibility, improved posture and coordination, and a reduced risk of injury. Water’s buoyancy and the sensation of drag and resistance as you swim works similar to stretching your muscles before and after a workout. With time, you should see improved flexibility in your neck, arms, hips and legs.
- Lowers Osteoporosis: The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, especially for women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, osteoporosis affects about 1 in 4 women (25%) aged 65 and over and about 5% (1 in 20) of men aged 65 and over. Swimming can help improve bone strength and density, which reduces the progression of osteoporosis.
- Boosts Your Mood: Being in the water has a calming, meditative effect that helps you relax and improves your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins throughout your body that triggers positive emotions, such as feelings of happiness and joy.
Easy Pool Exercises for Seniors to Try
Even if you’re not a swimmer, you can still reap the many benefits of water exercise! There are a variety of pool exercises to explore besides swimming laps. Water aerobics, water resistance training and water meditation and relaxation exercises are a few techniques to consider. We’ve compiled a quick list of pool exercises that offer many of the great benefits outlined above.
- Leg Lifts: For this simple exercise, stand in the pool and lift one leg out to the side, and back down. If you can, try lifting your leg to the front and back as well. Alternate legs to fully work all the muscles in your legs. Leg lifts improve your balance and strengthen your core, the resistance of the water increases impact.
- Jogging: That’s right, you can jog in the water! Incorporating pool jogging is a perfect way to keep your heart pumping and increase your heart rate. This technique is as simple as jogging through the water from one side of the pool to the other. Don’t forget to add arm movements for a more aerobic workout.
- Standing Push Ups: Water push-ups build shoulder, arm and chest strength without adding stress to your joints. Place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the edge of the pool; bend your arms and move towards the wall, then push yourself back up.
Supporting Senior Wellness at Silver Maples
At Silver Maples, senior wellness plays an important role as we look to enhance your quality of life, and your physical and mental health and well-being. Health and wellness are an important part of aging well, and with an in-house workout room, instructor led exercise classes, and even a free membership to Chelsea Wellness Center, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your health!
We invite you to learn more about our vibrant senior living community in Chelsea, MI. You can visit our website to access informative videos, and personal stories, and testimonials from residents, their families and our staff. Or, feel free to connect with us through social media to get a peek at daily life at Silver Maples. Contact us when you’re ready to discuss options, our knowledgeable staff are eager to assist and help you enjoy an active, engaging lifestyle that you’ll love.