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9 Health Benefits of Swimming for Seniors
Many seniors enjoy swimming, especially in the summertime when the weather is hot outside. Some seniors will take their grandkids swimming or spend a day relaxing at the pool with their friends.
There are many health benefits of swimming that seniors can get by taking a trip to the pool. Here are some of the best health benefits swimming provides, as well as some ideas to help seniors get more involved in swimming.
Is Swimming a Good Exercise for Seniors?
Swimming is a fun, easy activity that many seniors can do because it is low impact and provides a full body workout. Staying active as you age is important because it keeps the muscles strong, which can prevent falls and injuries.
Health Benefits of Swimming for Seniors
- Low-impact Exercise. Seniors who have mobility challenges such as arthritis or joint pain may find that swimming is an easy exercise on their joints. Exercising in the water can help seniors strengthen their muscles, which can potentially reduce pain from their conditions over time.
- Improves Sleep. Another one of the benefits of swimming for seniors is it can improve sleep. According to the National Library of Medicine, 50% of seniors report that they have difficulty sleeping.1 Regular exercise such as swimming can help promote a natural sleep-wake cycle, which can improve quality of sleep over time.2
- Aids in Heart Health. Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise that can get the heart pumping and strengthen it over time. This makes swimming a great way for seniors to protect themselves from conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
- Age Better. A study from Indiana University Bloomington’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming found that those who consistently swam throughout their lives aged better, including healthier blood pressure levels, blood chemistry, pulmonary levels, and muscle mass. This makes swimming a great habit for seniors to pick up and practice to stay healthy.3
- Boosts Mental Health. Swimming can improve mental health, with a survey finding that 74% of people found swimming releases stress and 70% of people felt mentally refreshed. A relaxing day at the pool can be one way seniors can unwind and reduce their anxiety levels.4
- Increases Muscle Mass. Water is a great form of resistance that can help you improve your muscle strength. Because swimming involves the whole body, the muscles in the arms, legs, and torso will all get a great workout.
- Improves Lung Capacity. Swimming is proven to improve lung capacity because the lungs need to take in more oxygen to keep up with the increase in heart rate. Over time, the lungs will improve and be better able to hold oxygen.
- Maintains Weight. Regular exercise is important, especially for seniors because they may not be able to do the same physical activities they could when they were younger. Swimming is an easy exercise for most older adults to do and can be a good way to help them maintain a healthy weight. Experts recommend that everyone should exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Improves Flexibility. Flexibility is an important part of swimming because it allows the body to perform different swimming exercises. Regularly swimming can improve a senior’s flexibility and help keep their muscles and joints flexible as they age.
Swimming Workout Ideas for Seniors
Seniors interested in swimming can find a pool near them at their local senior center, gym, or community center. Some of these places will offer access for free or at a discount to those over 65.
Here are some options to help seniors get more active:
- Senior Swimming Classes. There are many swimming classes that are accessible to seniors, including those with mobility issues. Some swimming classes will take seniors through different fitness exercises to help them tone different parts of their body. This is also a great way for older adults to meet others who share their same hobby of swimming.
- Water Aerobics. Water aerobics are low-impact and great for seniors who have joint pain or arthritis. These exercises are designed to work on both cardio and strength training and are done mostly in deeper water. Some water aerobics include Zumba, aqua aerobics, and aqua jog.
- Water Relaxation. Water relaxation techniques focus on slowing down the heart rate, which should lower blood pressure and stress levels. These techniques use water to ease tension in the body and create a calming feeling. There are groups that will focus on water yoga and finding ways to relax in the pool.
Consider Swimming Today!
Swimming can be a great way for seniors to stay active as they age. If you or a loved one are interested in swimming, find a spot close to you where you can begin today.
To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the nursing and rehabilitation we provide, check out our locations and services we offer.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Patel D, Steinberg J, Patel P. Insomnia in the Elderly: A Review. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018 Jun 15;14(6):1017-1024. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.7172. PMID: 29852897; PMCID: PMC5991956. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5991956/#:~:text=1-,One%20of%20the%20most%20common%20sleep,the%20older%20population%20is%20insomnia.&text=As%20many%20as%2050%25%20of,difficulty%20initiating%20or%20maintaining%20sleep.&text=Prevalence%20of%20insomnia%20is%20higher,than%20in%20the%20younger%20population.
- “7 Reasons Swimming is Good For Your Body.” Saber Healthcare Group. 7 March 2021. Accessed 11 August 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-benefits-of-swimming
- “Swimming in the fountain of youth.” Indiana University. Accessed 11 August 2022. Link: https://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/4030.html
- Howley, Elaine. “4 Reasons Why Swimming is Great for Mental Health.” S. Swimming Masters. 6 January 2021. Accessed 11 August 2022. Link: https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/4-reasons-why-swimming-is-great-for-mental-health