Healthy Exercise for Seniors

Healthy Exercise for Seniors
Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that yields cardiovascular benefits, increases endurance, and strengthens muscles.  It is widely regarded as one of the best forms of exercise for seniors.  The health benefits of swimming can promote physical fitness and overall well-being for years to come.

Mental Health and Well-Being

Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis stimulates chemicals that increase positive feelings.  Widely considered to be a peaceful and relaxing form of exercise, swimming can lead to improved mood levels and even help to lower anxiety and depression in some people, particularly those with conditions such as fibromyalgia.  In addition to reducing stress and contributing to a positive state of mind, swimming also provides increased opportunities for socialization, since it can be done with family and friends, which can lead to greater levels of happiness.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Among the health benefits of swimming, the impact on the heart is notable.  Since heart disease is a concern for many seniors, it is important to identify an exercise routine that can help to improve cardiovascular function and ward off the complications of any disease already present.  For those with diabetes, swimming is considered an aerobic activity that can help you to lose weight and keep blood sugar controlled.  As with any new form of exercise, it is important to get clearance from a doctor and come up with an appropriate plan prior to beginning, particularly if you have maintained a more sedentary lifestyle.

Decrease in Arthritis Pain

Many seniors cope with the pain associated with arthritis.  While exercise can be the last thing on the mind of someone experiencing joint pain and stiffness, it actually can lead to a reduction in pain and an increase in flexibility and strength.  Not getting enough exercise is what can exacerbate symptoms and cause joints to become more painful.  The key is identifying the appropriate form of exercise.  One of the many health benefits of swimming is its ability to confer all of the positive aspects of regular exercise without causing joint pain.  Since it is low-impact, it does not cause the amount of stress that running or even walking can cause.

For seniors with arthritis, swimming can increase energy, strengthen muscles around joints, help with weight management, and enhance well-being. Some people find that an added health benefit of swimming is that it loosens up joints and muscles, particularly when the pool is warm.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Since swimming is low-impact and can even help to improve joint flexibility and muscles strength, it is associated with fewer injuries than other forms of exercise.  This makes it a safer for seniors to take advantage of the health benefits of swimming than activities like jogging or tennis.  Anyone who will begin a swimming routine should make sure they have enough classes or experience, and beginner classes are available to people of all ages, making it highly accessible to anyone who is interested.

Fight Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is more prevalent in women and those who are taking certain medications.  Characterized by weakened bones, this condition puts seniors at a greater risk for fractures, particularly of the wrist, hips, and spine, and related complications such as pneumonia and blood clots.  While everyone loses bone mass during the aging process, it is important to take steps to increase density through exercise, proper intake of calcium and vitamin D, and medications when necessary.  While weight-lifting exercises have the most impact on bone density, swimming also can contribute in the fight against osteoporosis.  Since it leads to stronger muscles and improved balance, it can help prevent seniors from falls and other injuries that may lead to fractures.

Certain forms of exercise may become impractical due to age or injury, while swimming is widely regarded as a lifetime activity, both competitively and recreationally.  This makes it possible for almost everyone to access the health benefits of swimming as long as they have access to a pool or natural body of water.  Whether you are interested in increasing muscle strength, easing the pain of arthritis, or seeking a boost to your feelings of happiness and well-being, swimming can play a role.

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