The Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

Exercise is beneficial to people as they age to keep them healthy and strong.  The problem for many seniors and their caregivers is finding the right exercise program that is helpful without aggravating existing health problems.  Swimming is one exercise that is often recommended for seniors and has many benefits.

Swimming is Easy on the Joints

High impact exercises such as running and jumping can be hard on the bones and joints and cause fractures and injuries.  Because swimming does not put stress on those areas, it is a great way to get in shape with less chance of injury.

Swimming is often recommended by doctors and therapists as a way to strengthen muscles when recovering from an injury.  The buoyancy of the water provides a cushion for movement. Our bodies have about the same density as water, which prevents stress to the joints since the water becomes a support.

If your loved one already suffers from a disease such as osteoarthritis where the cartilage wears down between the joints and causes pain, swimming can be the easiest exercise for them to do.  Exercise is often recommended for people who suffer from osteoarthritis but it can be painful for them to do traditional activities such as walking.  Since swimming takes the pressure off the joints, it is one activity that they can still participate in without aggravating their condition.

Swimming Has Numerous Benefits

You will find many health improvements as a result of participating in swimming regularly.  Here is a list of some of the benefits you can expect to experience.

  • Improved cardiovascular system
  • Improved flexibility
  • Greater muscle tone
  • Better posture
  • Improved balance
  • Less muscle tension
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis

Swimming can also help increase appetite and assist in weight control if obesity is an issue.  It can also reduce stress by allowing the body to relax.

Swimming is Both Cardio and Strength Training

Swimming raises the heart rate to provide a good cardio workout, which increases the blood flow throughout the entire body.  It will increase the metabolism and provide more energy for the senior.

Because of the difficulty of moving against the water, swimming also acts as strength training.  It works the muscles harder than doing the same activities on land, but without feeling as difficult.  This will help improve muscle tone so that the senior can do their daily tasks easier.

Swimming Is a Social Activity

If a senior goes to a public pool or gym pool, they will meet other people there that they can interact with.  This can be important if they do not get out of their home on a regular basis.  If you have a senior family member, try to encourage them to participate in water exercises or swimming.  Many facilities have water aerobics programs geared towards seniors where they can meet other people their age.

Schedule Swimming Weekly

Encourage your loved one to participate in swimming several times a week.  If they get at least 20 minutes of swimming three or four times a week, they will see benefits.  If your family member has homecare services, the caregiver can also encourage them to participate.  They may even go with them to the pool, which will make them more likely to maintain the schedule.

Safety in Swimming

If your senior family member has a swimming pool in their home or apartment complex, it will be more convenient for them to get exercise on a regular basis.  However, precautions need to be taken to protect them from the hazards that come with swimming.

  • Discourage the senior from swimming if it has not been at least two hours since they have eaten.
  • Warn them not to swim if they feel groggy or dizzy.  Some medications can cause      disorientation or other side effects.
  • Encourage them to only swim when someone else is around.
  • Keep swimming area free of clutter.

A caregiver can provide safety for the senior by assisting them with getting in and out of the pool and walking with them on wet, slippery surfaces.  Having someone along can help them enjoy the benefits of swimming without concern over the dangers that it can bring.

Carefect Homecare Services provides homecare services for seniors that include going with them on outings such as trips to the swimming pool.  We can assist them as needed and be an extra set of hands to prevent accidents.  Our caregivers will encourage them to stay active by participating in activities like swimming.  You can rest assured that your family member is in good hands with our caregivers.