You can backstroke their way to health


Exercise provides a number of measureable benefits for people of all ages, including older adults. Swimming is one exercise that may be especially beneficial.
Many people learn to swim in childhood and sharpen that skill as they get older. Though swimming devotees may get in the water for fun rather than fitness, this popular, joyful and relaxing pastime may be the ideal exercise for seniors looking to improve their overall health, particularly because it is very low-impact.
Because the water provides buoyancy while swimming, there is little risk of injury and minimal strain on the body. Water exercises, including swimming, work all the muscle groups, so it can be a complete exercise, says American Senior Communities. Swimming also is a great cardiovascular exercise that can strengthen the heart muscle and improve lung function and endurance. Because it lowers blood pressure and improves circulation, swimming is a great way to get the heart pumping.
A gentle, 30-minute swim can burn up to 200 calories, which is more than walking. A faster swim can burn calories more quickly than running or cycling. However, since water supports up to 90 percent of the body’s weight, this activity will put less stress on muscles and joints while one is exercising.
Individuals with mobility issues or arthritis pain may find that swimming helps relieve discomfort and improves range of motion. Again, because the water is doing much of the work holding up the body, it will take the stress off of joints, helping a person to feel better while stretching and moving gently in the water.
Even seniors who don’t know how to swim can still reap the benefits of water exercise. Walking in shallow water or using a kickboard to stay above the water can be effective. Using foam dumbbells or even pushing and pulling one’s arms through the water can serve as a great resistance exercise that builds strength.
Swimming and additional water activities are great ways to stay in shape. As always, individuals should speak with their doctors before beginning any exercise regimen to ensure that it is safe.