Swimming for Seniors

Swimming for seniors in right behind walking and Tai chi for its all-around benefits, however, there are some experts that suggest it is better than both.

There reasoning for this is very simple; the makeup of water.

Water is considered to be about 11-12 times denser than air, and when you are in the water, you are forcing all of your muscles to work.

However, like Tai chi, it is a very smooth and non-resistant work, and you do not have to over extend yourself.

In fact, simply walking in the water is a very good overall exercise at our age.

The Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

Swimming for seniors is also very beneficial by simply taking small and mild strokes, and then walking in the water, dancing around a little, or kicking.

Because of the density of water, every movement you make is exaggerated, and it is mildly doing several things to your body.

They include some of the following:

  • You are increasing your strength with the resistance
  • You are sending oxygen to the entire body
  • You are reducing body fat
  • You are toning both muscles and tendons
  • You are increasing your stamina
  • You are increasing your flexibility

Any type of swimming for seniors speeds up the distribution of oxygen to our entire body, something that we all need as we begin to age.

Any time the oxygen supply is increased, it helps to slow the loss of cell production that occurs with aging.  

While walking and Tai chi do the same thing, they target only certain parts of our body.

However, swimming helps to activate several muscles groups at the same time, even with very slow and gentle strokes.

It also helps is allowing our body to exercise without pressure on our joints, which is very important to all of us as we begin to age.

But it also goes a step further when it comes to one of the biggest challenges all of us will begin to face; balance issues.

Balance exercises in the water, again because of it makeup, are very easy to do.

You can simply take a floating device, hold onto it, and then stand on one leg for as long as possible, and then repeat the process for the other leg.

If you lose your balance, the floating device holds you up.

There Are More Benefits

There are several other benefits of swimming for seniors and they include some of the following:

  • It is a very low impact exercise
  • Helps to strengthen our heart and lungs
  • It helps to build back our muscle mass
  • We can do it even with slight injuries
  • We can do it with our grandchildren

The National Arthritis foundation recommends this form of exercise over walking for one simple reason; low resistance.

This form also holds the advantage over all other forms simply because of the buoyancy that water affords us.

Even if you are doing some form of aerobic exercise, by simply holding onto any type of flotation device, it protects us from any sharp impact.

Tai chi is one of the best forms of exercise for both our lungs and heart because of the breathing techniques it combines, but it cannot deliver like this exercise.

Swimming in seniors in one recent test documented below, increased oxygen consumed by as much as 10%, and the stoke volume of senior men almost 20%.

Stroke Volume is Important

At our age, stroke volume in our hearts is critical, as this is the amount of blood pumped with each stoke of our hearts.

If we are sedentary and do no exercise at all, we are getting a lot less blood into our systems.

While building muscle mass at our age is not a real concern, losing it is. Again, because of the density of water, every step we take or every arm movement is preventing this lose.

However, for the vast majority of us, being able to share this experience with our grandchildren trumps every other benefit.

As we all get older, there are very few activities we can share and participate with them, other than walking.

With this exercise, we can play with them and better yet, help teach them to swim and be there to protect them in a second.

But the list of the benefits of swimming for seniors is not complete as it also includes the following.

  • It also help our bones
  • It helps our joints.

All of us are aware that as we age, so do our bones. We are losing the mineral density in the slow aging process, and as a result, they become weaker and more fragile.

This can easily lead to fractures or worse yet; breakage.

However, this exercise helps us slow this process, as it pushes and then relaxes our muscles.

While we are swimming or simply walking in the water, this action actually helps our bones, and at our age, they need all the help they can get.

Devices That Can help

We also are aware that as we begin to age our joints and ligaments also begin to wear down, making it difficult to do most types of exercise.

The stress is too much to bear, even with simple walking in some cases. However, the density and buoyancy of water removes, not all, but most of this stress.

What we may not be able to do on land, we can now do in water, but only if we try.

There are some devises that you can get to make swimming for seniors safer and even more effective.

They include the following

  • Some form of floating device
  • Kick-boards
  • Hand panels
  • Water treadmill

A floating device not only makes it a lot safer, they can also be used for balance and can help add to the resistance in some of our simple workouts.

Kick-boards are also used for safety, but they can also be used to glide you while you are working your legs and resting your arms.

Hand panels are used in most aerobic classes as they help to add resistance, and are great for helping stop our muscle loss.

However, perhaps the neatest of all tools for swimming for seniors is a water treadmill. 

A water treadmill helps you swim in place and is must for anyone afraid of the water, or someone that just wants to be in the water and get some exercise.

References

http://www.seniorhealth365.com/2011/12/12/swimming-exercise-benefits-for-the-elderly/

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