The Therapeutic Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

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As our bodies age, it’s important to stay as active as possible. Certain forms of light exercise pose very little risk of injury to seniors, and can help keep their bodies healthy and strong. A schedule of light exercise also has the added benefits of giving seniors more energy, improved moods and higher levels of mental alertness. Swimming is an ideal workout for seniors, as it is a low-impact activity that utilizes all of the muscle groups.

Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why swimming makes a great addition to any senior’s therapeutic recreational regimen.

Swimming Improves Heart Health

Swimming and other water-based exercises are aerobic, which encourages movement which directly increases blood flow, helping the heart become stronger. Students in a therapeutic recreation gerontology program will learn that not only does aerobic exercise reduce the risk of heart disease, it can actually decrease inflammation by preventing fatty build-ups in the arteries.

Swimming Regularly Promotes Mental Health

Students with therapeutic recreation training know that working with seniors is all about contributing to their overall sense of wellbeing. Another reason swimming is a great option for seniors is that it can relieve stress and help improve mood levels.

Studies show that exercises such as swimming boost the brain’s production of chemicals that increase happiness as well as increase our ability to deal with tension. Swimming is a great way for seniors to receive these benefits with little risk of physical exhaustion.

Being in Water is Therapeutic for the Joints

When most seniors experience the bodily aches and pains associated with aging, it’s usually in their joints. Most forms of exercise, including going for a brisk walk, can result in soreness afterwards. A huge benefit of swimming, is that the body’s weight is supported by the water, allowing seniors to move freely and get a full-body workout with little to no impact on problem areas like the knees, hips or spine.

Swimming Improves Flexibility

Another positive side effect of swimming for seniors is that it will increase flexibility, which can help improve their day-to-day functionality and mobility. Studies show that with greater flexibility, comes improved posture, reduced risk of injury, less back pain and better muscle coordination.

Swimming Can Provide Social Recreation Time

Students who have taken therapeutic recreation courses know that seniors are sometimes faced with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Swimming provides them with a fun activity where not only do they get a workout, they get the chance to interact with others. It can be a great way to meet new people or a fun activity to do with family, such as children or grandchildren. Many facilities even have water exercise classes geared towards seniors where they will get the chance to interact with other people their age!

Can you think of any other benefits that swimming provides for seniors?

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