Swimming Benefits for Seniors: Here's What You Need to Know

swimming benefits for seniors

Fun and invigorating, swimming is the quintessential total body experience. Effortlessly propelling through water is joyful and soothing. But for the 55+ crowd, taking the plunge can be so much more than just recreation. Mitigating the pain that can make activities on land a trial, water allows your body to become fluid and flexible; to move with a freedom only possible inside the pool. As the one form of exercise that positively impacts every system in the body, swimming and other water activities are making a big splash for seniors who want to strengthen and renew both body and spirit.

In fact, no other physical activity multi-tasks like swimming. As it improves heart rate and lung capacity and increases blood flow it also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, stretches and tones muscles, and releases endorphins that create a sense of well-being. And, with water supporting their body weight, those with chronic issues and injuries can work out for longer periods without worrying about stress on joints and bones.

Whether you swim like a fish, or simply want to exercise in the water, the long list of swimming benefits will make it worth your while. Whatever pool activity you choose is guaranteed to become your favorite pastime.

Just Swim

If you are physically up to the challenge, swimming laps for half an hour would be immensely beneficial. Modify the workout by taking kickboard breaks for a lap or two and diversify with different strokes. Alternating freestyle with breaststroke and backstroke would work all the different muscle groups.

Water Aerobics Classes

Water aerobics can be enjoyed at any experience level. There are classes that promote gentle movement and others that can be more rigorous, using the water for resistance exercise. Beyond the physical benefits, participants also enjoy the social aspects of working out in a group.

Water Walking

Enjoy a relaxing water-walking session. As simple as walking back and forth across the shallow end of the pool, water walking is a great way to get moving without exacerbating joint pain. It is also an excellent rehab option for foot or ankle injuries. Walking without bearing weight helps injured tendons or muscles remain flexible as they regain their strength.  

Aqua Running

The ultimate in low impact aerobics, aqua running is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout without stressing joints or exacerbating existing mobility issues. Wearing a flotation device—belt or vest—simply paddle into the deep end and create a running motion with your arms and legs.

Water Relaxation Classes

Water relaxation techniques are focused on reducing stress and improving balance which can reduce the risk of falling. Experience the calming effect of water yoga or water pilates. Learn the art of I Chi, water resistance training based on the principles of Tai Chi. Or strap on a flotation device and just hang out and meditate on how great it feels to be in the water.

Swimming is the ultimate total body workout at any age, but especially for the 55+ young at heart community. Find the water activity that perfectly suits you and get in the swim!