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What are the Benefits of Swimming for Older Adults?

May 28, 2024

Couple in swimming pool

Exercise is an essential part of healthy living for all ages, including older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends those over 65 participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, but finding ways to exercise if you have physical limitations can be difficult. In such cases, swimming might be the best option.

Swimming with Injuries and Health Conditions

Arthritis is a condition commonly experienced by older adults, and some studies have shown that participating regularly in swimming can reduce the joint pain and stiffness associated with this disease. For those with multiple sclerosis (MS), similar studies have shown that regular swimming reduces the pain and fatigue associated with MS.

Being submerged in water makes the body more buoyant, which reduces the weight placed on your limbs. This is extremely beneficial for the joints as it allows them to move freely with less of a pull from gravity. For seniors, this makes swimming a great exercise alternative to high-impact exercises that typically put a lot of pressure on the joints, like jogging.

Physical Benefits of Swimming Exercises

Swimming is one form of exercise that works the whole body since it requires the use of multiple muscle groups at once. This makes it a great way to tone overall muscle, build strength and endurance and challenge your cardiovascular system.

Seniors benefit greatly from participating in aerobic exercises, or exercises that promote healthy breathing. Swimming, since it is an aerobic exercise, can help lower blood pressure, strengthen lung capacity and help control blood sugar levels.

For older adults at risk of developing osteoporosis, swimming can offset or reverse some effects of this disease. Any exercise performed in the water is considered to be resistance-based because of water’s natural resistance, and these are the exercises you should engage in to improve your bone density. By increasing your bone density, you can prevent bone breaks and fractures. Studies have shown that bone density is best improved when seniors participate in at least three hours of swimming per week.

Mental Benefits of Swimming Exercises

Research indicates that swimming can improve cognitive brain function in all adults, and this includes promoting a healthy memory. In some studies, people who participated in 20-minute swimming sessions showed the ability to process visual information better after swimming. This suggests that swimming is linked to improvements in cognitive brain function, and having good cognitive health can lower your risk of developing certain conditions, such as dementia.

Swimming can also boost your mood since it is linked to the release of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These are chemicals associated with happiness, and their frequent release through exercise may lower stress levels and reverse some negative effects of mental health conditions like anxiety disorders and depression.

How to Start Swimming Today

Residents at Applewood have access to the community pool and aquatic-based classes. Swimming and water aerobics classes are also often offered for all ages or just for seniors at local aquatic and fitness centers.

At Applewood, residents can indulge in a multitude of amenities curated to elevate their well-being and lifestyle, including access to a generously equipped fitness facility and an indoor heated pool. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, Applewood is a premier senior living community, providing independent and higher levels of care options for seniors desiring a vibrant and engaging community. To learn more, connect with a member of our team by calling us today at 848-233-4283.