Just thirty minutes of aerobic activity, such as swimming or water aerobics, five days per week can make a huge impact on a senior’s health and well being. Swimming has a variety of benefits for both mental and physical health.
Help with Chronic Illness
Swimming has been shown to protect, or even improve, bone health in post-menopausal women. It greatly decreases the risk of chronic illness and can improve the health of people with conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Swimming even reduces the risk of death by 50% compared to inactive seniors.
Less Pain, More Gain
One of the great things about swimming is that it is an effective method of exercise but, thanks to the water buoyancy, it doesn’t put stress on joints. This translates to much less pain, and much better mobility, for people who have conditions such as arthritis.
Multiple studies show that individuals with fibromyalgia experience less pain, increased physical function and improved mood — and these effects may persist for as long as two years!
Decreased Fall Risk
A recent study showed that of all the types of exercise the senior study participants engaged in — including walking, calisthenics, treadmills, stationary bicycles, golf, lawn bowling or Bocce ball — swimming was the only one to actually reduce the risk of falling. Swimming seniors fell 33% less often during the four year study, whereas the other forms of exercise did not affect the overall likelihood of falling.
Improve Mental Health
Swimming has been shown in studies to decrease anxiety and symptoms of depression. Swimming has been shown to have excellent benefits in terms of both mood enhancement and sleep improvement — possibly even better than land-based exercise.
Challenges with Swimming
Swimming is enjoyable and comfortable for seniors but there can be barriers that make it difficult. For example, many seniors aren’t able to drive to the pool center. They may need assistance with dressing or bathing, or they might have problems with incontinence that make swimming impractical. Fortunately, there are solutions to these challenges.
Incontinence can easily be handled with special incontinence briefs designed for swimming. Elder care services can help with transportation or any need for personal assistance.
Professional elder care aides can come right into the senior’s home, help them get ready to go and then drive them to the pool. Elder care aides can go into the dressing room and help the senior with a pre-swim shower. They can then walk them safely to the poolside. After the swimming session, the elder care aide can again help the senior shower and dress, carry their gym bag, and get them home safely — without ever waiting for a taxi!
The Benefits of Swimming are Profound
Although seniors may see some barriers to swimming, they can easily be overcome with the right solutions — and doing so is completely worth the effort! Whether swimming laps, joining a water aerobics class, or simply spending time in the pool, the benefits of swimming to seniors are profound in terms of physical health, mental health, and quality of life.
If you or an aging loved one are considering in elder care in Charlotte, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail