Swimming is an ideal workout for older adults, mainly because it’s low impact and the chances of injury are very low. It also has a wide range of health benefits that take on extra importance as we age.
It improves heart health
Swimming is excellent cardiovascular exercise, working to strengthen your heart, improve circulation, lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.
Having a healthier heart will also reduce the effort it takes to perform daily activities such as climbing stairs and walking around. This is especially important as we age, and mobility begins to decrease – swimming can help to slow this process, keeping you fit and healthy.
It’s gentle on the joints
As swimming is not weight-bearing, it’s much easier on the joints than other land-based activities. The water makes your body buoyant, removing any pressure and strain on your joints.
It’s an effective full-body workout that will keep the pressure off your hips, knees and spine. This makes it a great option for people who suffer from stiff or painful joints, or conditions such as arthritis.
It reduces your risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Studies show that a third of women over the age of 50 and a fifth of men experience a bone fracture due to osteoporosis.
These figures show just how important it is to maintain bone density in your older years – something that swimming has been proven to help with. Regular swimming has been known to improve bone mineral density (BMD), which helps to fight off osteoporosis and prevent breaks.
It increases flexibility
Swimming is excellent for flexibility as the movements help to improve mobility in your hips, legs, arm and neck, making it easier to carry out everyday movements.
Swimming can also help to improve your posture and ease back pain.
It Improves muscle strength and tone
Losing muscle mass is a normal part of aging, but it’s important to try and maintain a base level of muscle strength and mass through weekly exercise. Swimming is an effective way to do this as it works many of the major muscle groups all at once and is a great form of resistance training.
Many older adults are put off other strength building exercises as they can strain joints, but this isn’t an issue with water-based exercise.
It helps your mental health
One of the best ways to combat mental health issues is through exercise and socialising – both of which swimming can provide. Physical exercise releases hormones that can boost your mood and increase happiness, while joining a group class can offer a great place to meet people in a fun and relaxed environment.
It reduces your risk of falls
For some older adults, falling can be a concern. However, studies have suggested that regular swimmers are less likely to fall. This is down to the fact that during swimming, the body is forced to produce its own stability and support as gravity is lost in the water. At the same time, having to coordinate movement between both your upper and lower body will also improve balance and stability.
At David Lloyd Clubs, we have a wide range of excellent swimming facilities, including both indoor and outdoor pools. We also offer water-based classes that improve strength, fitness, and provide a social environment. Contact your local club to find out more.