The Benefits of Swimming for Senior Health and Wellness
As the weather warms up, swimming not only becomes an extremely attractive option for getting outside and having fun, but provides enormous health benefits for seniors. Here, the homecare experts at Avila detail the reasons why you should put swimming on your list of exercise must-do’s.
Just because you’re getting older does not mean you need to put the swimsuit away—in fact, swimming can have more health benefits for the elderly than for their younger counterparts. Below, the homecare professionals at Avila have detailed ways that swimming can positively impact your health and general wellness as you age.
Swimming Can Help to Prevent Falls
Falls account for most fatal and non-fatal injuries sustained by senior citizens. While previous studies showed that general physical exercise can help prevent falls, recent studies have shown that swimming especially can help to reduce instances of falls. This is because the exercise helps to develop strong, stable core muscles, which are critical to keeping good balance. Swimming also boosts coordination, requiring participants to keep upper and lower extremities moving in tandem, and strengthens leg muscles which prevent swaying and improve one’s ability to stay upright.
Water Exercise Won’t Cause Joint Pain
Many elderly people suffer from joint pain, which can limit the amount and type of exercise one can comfortably perform. Swimming is not a weight-bearing, non-impact sport, and often does not cause joint pain. This means senior citizens can reap the health benefits of exercise without any of the painful downsides.
Swimming Builds Muscle and Improves Physical Health
Muscle mass rapidly deteriorates as we age, which can diminish quality of life and contribute to weight gain. Swimming is great resistance training, working all the major muscle groups as one’s body pushes through the water. This helps to tone and strengthen muscles, making it easier to accomplish everyday tasks.
Swimming is also an aerobic exercise, meaning it is a continuous and sustained exercise that requires substantial amounts of oxygenated blood to reach the heart. This helps the heart to pump blood more efficiently and with greater force, which boosts cardiovascular health, decreases risk of heart disease, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure.
Aerobic Exercise Improves Mental Health
Besides being great for the body, swimming is also wonderful for the mind. Aerobic exercise provides the body with eustress, or positive stress, which helps to boost dopamine levels and increase motivation. Swimming also relieves negative stress, helping one to relax and increase mental clarity. With the popularity of water aerobics classes, swimming is very much a social sport, and therefore a great way to feel a connection to the community, make new friends, and banish any feelings of loneliness or sadness.
For all of these reasons, and many more, every senior citizen should add swimming to their regular exercise routine. Of course, consult with your personal physician before beginning any new exercise routine. At Avila, we put the health and well-being of our clients at the forefront. If you are interested in learning more about how our dedicated caregivers can provide you the quality service you deserve, contact us today!
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