8 Benefits of Swimming for Seniors
Senior living presents older adults with expansive opportunities to connect with others, improve their quality of life and continue growing individually. The communal aspect of senior living combined with increased access to amenities and services can be life-changing for residents.
Many communities offer indoor pools and encourage residents to swim because it is one of three sports that will help you live longer, and it encourages social interaction between residents.
“Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, but there is something truly unique about swimming. Swimming offers a great option for those with impairments, injuries, or long-term health conditions to maintain and improve their fitness,” says Allison Yancey, Executive Director at Residences at Wellpoint Hampton Cove. Senior living presents older adults with expansive opportunities to connect with others.
But that’s just the beginning! The list of advantages that swimming has to offer older adults goes on and on! Here are eight reasons you might consider making a splash in the pool.
Promotes Heart Health
Swimming is one of the best aerobic activities for cardiovascular health. Not only does swimming work to improve the efficiency of your heart, but it can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, and raise good cholesterol HDL levels.
One study even showed that 30 minutes of swimming a day can lower the risk of heart disease in women by 30-40%.
Alleviates Joint Pain
Especially compared to running, which is a high-impact physical activity, swimming is gentle on your joints. Since the exercise is not weight-bearing, it puts little to no pressure on your hips and knees. This means that you can increase your heart rate without putting undue strain on your body.
Even more impressive, water exercise can be therapeutic to those who have joint pain or injuries that might prevent them from other forms of exercise. While not exactly “swimming,” hydrotherapy can treat symptoms and ease the pain of those who suffer from arthritis.
Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis
One-third of women over 50 and one-fifth of men suffer a bone fracture due to osteoporosis. Especially for post-menopausal women, studies have shown that swimming can increase bone strength, which in turn can prevent broken bones.
For those with low bone density, swimming offers a low-pact form of exercise that is safe to participate in regularly. It is often recommended by doctors for this reason.
Decreases Risk of Falls
According to the CDC, one out of four adults 65 or older will suffer a fall in a single year. One study showed that older men who swim are 33% less likely to fall than their counterparts who don’t.
This is due, in part, to the way swimming can increase muscle strength. Also important is the way that swimming increases flexibility and decreases postural sway. An easy way to describe the effect of these multiple factors is that it strengthens stability. In this way, making swimming your go-to exercise could reduce the chances of requiring advanced senior care.
Builds Strength and Tones Muscle
The loss of muscle mass as you age is called sarcopenia, and it contributes to the decreased strength and mobility that one experiences in the later stages of life.
Swimming activates all muscle groups and therefore offers an effective way to retain and increase your muscle mass. Not only that, but since water is 800 times more dense than air, swimming is an excellent form of resistance training, which strengthens muscles.
Supports Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, over 20% of adults aged 60 and over have been diagnosed with a mental or neurological disorder. Even those seniors who do not suffer from a mental illness have normal ups and downs and stressors. Almost everyone can benefit from mood-boosting activities and strategies for stress relief.
Swimming can provide this and more. Swimming releases endorphins, which can relieve pain and stress, and increase your feelings of well-being. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive function. A daily swim could be just what you need to increase your feelings of happiness and contentment.
Offers a Chance To Socialize
You are bound to meet new people when you make swimming a regular activity, especially when you take advantage of a pool connected to a senior living community.
Take Residences at Wellpoint in Huntsville, Alabama, as an example. Their fitness program is in the business of bringing people together around common health goals.
Executive Director Allison Yancey said, “Wellpoint was created specifically for health-conscious seniors who celebrate fruitful living and graceful aging, so it is easy to find like-minded individuals at our fitness studio and pool.”
Older adults with sufficient social opportunities enjoy an array of benefits, especially when it comes to their mental health. This is yet another way that swimming could enhance your overall mood and mental wellness.
A 2009 study claims that 50% of older adults have difficulty sleeping. Since low quality of sleep is associated with higher morbidity and mortality rates, alleviating this issue can have an immensely positive effect on your health.
If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep, swimming might be the key to solving this problem. Swimming burns more calories than other exercises, so it leaves your body relaxed and more physically tired. This, in turn, can improve your quality of sleep.
Residences at Wellpoint Redefines What It Means To Age Well
The team at Residences at Wellpoint Hampton Cove maintains a beautiful pool and runs an innovative fitness program to support your continued health. Situated at Owens Cross Roads, near Huntsville, the Residences provides Memory Care, Assisted Living and Independent Living options. No matter where you are on your senior living journey, you can enjoy everything we offer.