Water Activities Help Older Adults Stay Fit

When you were a kid, you probably spent most of your time in the water during the summer months. It was just good fun to swim and you didn’t even realize you were getting exercise! In your older years, returning to the water activities of your youth is both healthy and enjoyable.

What is it about being in the water? It just feels good to be suspended, weightless. The pressures of gravity on your body are gone.

Activities that you do in the water are non-jarring, low impact. If you suffer from joint issues such as arthritis, swimming and aquatic exercises are a perfect fit for your exercise program. You move almost effortlessly when you exercise in the water, without the pain in your joints that exercise can cause outside the pool. And, even though the exercise seems effortless, when you emerge, you can feel that you have had a good work out.

Water activities are perfect for older adults for many reasons.

Benefits of Water Activities

Water activities promote social interaction. Spending time in a pool, swimming and exercising, is a great way to meet new people with your same interests. Sharing those interests can give you a new zest for life and fitness.

Water activities improve cardiovascular functioning. Aerobic activity improves the heart’s condition by lowering blood pressure, lowering weight and increasing metabolism. The same benefits you get from running or floor exercises can be found with water aerobics, but in a low impact, non-jarring, joint friendly way.

Water activities offer the same benefits of strength training. Plastic or Styrofoam dumbbells are specifically designed for aquatic exercises. They are quite light on land, but get them in the water, and you’ll feel the difference right away. Pushing and pulling these styrofoam dumbbells through the water requires the same effort as working out with regular dumbbells on land. The difference is that you’re not stressing your joints when you’re in the water.

Strength training, whether in the water or on land, improves muscle strength. Improve your muscle strength and you will improve your balance, flexibility and mobility. As we age, these three things become more and more important.

Water activities improve cardiovascular function. Even if you don’t have an exercise routine planned in the water, simply swimming is a water activity that is great for older adults. Your core muscles, which are your lower back and abdominal muscles, are strengthened right along with your shoulder and upper back muscles. Your cardiovascular fitness improves also as you are able to swim longer and longer sessions.

Exercise is stimulating. Any form of exercise improves not only the body, but also the mind. With physical activity, the brain releases endorphins, those ” feel good” substances that help to improve mood and overall outlook. With increased oxygen to the brain, your mind is also sharper with more clarity of thought.

Are you a senior looking for fun exercise that is also low-impact? Do you remember how much you enjoyed swimming as a kid? Then, check out your local swimming pool and start a fitness program that will improve your overall health and have fun at the same time.

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