Studies have shown that exercise for seniors is extremely beneficial in improving quality of life. Many seniors aren’t sure where to start with exercise, especially if they did not take part in any type of regular exercise in their younger years. Some worry that it is too late to start exercising. Others have pre-existing injuries or health conditions that make traditional exercise, like running, difficult. But swimming offers a better alternative for a lot of seniors, allowing them to reap the benefits of a fitness routine.
Swimming is a fantastic exercise for people of all ages, including seniors. Often, swimming is used to help rehabilitate those with injuries. Swimming can provide an alternative aerobic exercise option for those who find other exercises difficult or painful. There are plenty of pool exercises that can help you lose weight, as well, if that’s more in line with your goals.
Why does swimming provide a quality method of exercising?
The water itself automatically provides resistance for muscles and joints. Just standing in a pool and moving one leg back and forth is causing significant more work for the leg than if the same motion is done outside of water. The water makes the muscles and joints work harder. In addition, swimming allows the entire body to work out because all muscle groups can be utilized. Finally, a pool is a low-impact environment with a minimal risk of injury. Joints will not experience the impact they receive when running, or even walking, because the pool water supports your weight. Anyone with pain in their hips, spine or knees will find a pool workout is much easier on their body that those same activities on dry land.
Seniors who swim for exercise often have:
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved flexibility
- Reduction in body fat
- Reduced risk of injuries
- Improved heart health
- Reduced stress and improved mood
So do I just go swim laps?
Swimming laps is an option but many people prefer to enroll in an aquatic exercise class. A variety of options are available at Miami Athletic Club. The ability to do different strokes is not necessary. Instead, envision yourself doing leg lifts and arm circles in the shallow end. Our aquatic exercise classes are more akin to a cardio routine in water. We don’t focus on different strokes or swimming skils, so there’s no need to be an expert swimmer.
MAC even has classes geared toward seniors, including Silver Splash specifically for seniors. If you have special health needs it may be possible to find classes specifically for you. The Arthritis Foundation Workout works on improving circulation while decreasing pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Classes provide the opportunity to exercise and socialize. In Carol’s video interview above, she speaks about how aquatic classes at Miami Athletic Club brought her a whole new group of friends to exercise with! In addition to the physical benefits, many members also find it beneficial to their social lives!
What If I never learned how to swim?
Believe it or not, many swimming fitness classes do not require participants to know how to swim. Often classes are conducted entirely in the shallow end. Sometimes floatation equipment, such as a pool noodle or kickboard, is used during class to increase resistance. Check program details before enrolling but is is possible to find classes that do not require swimming capability.
For additional information about exercise options for seniors contact us. MAC is a member both Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit. These programs offer discount gym memberships and other benefits to qualifying seniors. We’re proud to support these efforts to keep seniors active and healthy!