Swimming Pool Exercises for Seniors
Falls are so common among older adults in the United States that, according to the CDC, more than one in four older adults age 65 or older report falling in the previous year. In fact, every second of every day, an older adult in the United States will fall. This statistic is staggering.
Falls not only contribute to injury and death among seniors, but they are also a leading factor in the loss of independence among this population. It only makes sense to look at ways seniors can decrease their own fall risk to avoid injury and to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Here’s where the swimming pool comes in.
Seniors who participate in swimming and aquatic exercise have been shown to have improved walking stability when compared to others their age. This stability leads to a decrease in the overall risk for falling. Let’s explore various swimming pool exercises seniors can perform, the benefits of these exercises, and how these exercises decrease the risk of falling among seniors.
According to a study conducted by Dafna Merom at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, older adult men who swim are much less likely to fall versus older adult men who participate in other exercise activities. Professor Merom conducted a study of over 1,600 men over the age of 70 and found that swimming protected older men from falls; these men were 33 percent less likely to fall than the men participating in the other forms of exercise.
Seniors can also significantly benefit from swimming pool exercises that don’t involve actually swimming.
Unlike ground exercise, which may be difficult or even impossible for seniors to perform, swimming pool exercise decreases physical stress on a senior’s joints. The buoyancy of the water decreases body weight and provides stability in order to perform exercises safely in the pool. This allows seniors with decreased mobility to exercise and improve cardiovascular and strength.
Swimming Pool Exercises for Seniors
This type of exercise increases the heart rate to improve overall cardiovascular conditioning and health.
This can be achieved by swimming or by performing other exercises in the swimming pool.
A good example is water walking. Simply walking in the water provides the buoyancy of the water
and can be performed by anyone, even non-swimmers.
● Strength Training—
Using buoyant equipment, such as dumbbells, noodles, or cuffs, adds to the intensity of exercise
in water while still being gentle on joints. Simple exercises such as squats, lunges, and rows increase
strength and improve overall stability.
Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching lengthens muscles and improves overall strength.
Combine these exercises with both aerobic and strength training for overall fitness.
Ohio State University has a great guide to aquatic stretches and other pool exercises that you can find here.
Social Benefits of Exercise
Swimming pool exercises also benefit seniors socially. Participating in group exercise classes, such as aquatic fitness, contributes to a greater sense of community and increases a senior’s social network. Getting and staying healthy is more fun with friends!
Seniors choosing to live in senior living communities will also benefit from the social aspect of swimming pool exercises. These communities promote healthy lifestyles for seniors and offer many opportunities for exercise and social activities, including various pool exercise classes.
For help finding a senior living community with a swimming pool near you, visit Alternatives for Seniors website or call (888) WE-ASSIST to have a senior specialist help you locate the community closest to you with the services and amenities you desire.
Swimming pool exercises for seniors don’t just decrease the risk of falls; they’re also fun! Seniors can even enjoy these exercises year-round with access to a heated pool in the cooler months of the year. Find a class, bring a friend, and reap all the benefits swimming pool exercises have to offer seniors!
Thank You to Our Guest Blog Writer:
Writer - Clinical Resource for Resident Care Directors at The Arbor Company
With over 30 years of experience, Francine O’Neill serves as a clinical resource for resident care directors at The Arbor Company. She oversees ongoing quality improvement programs and regulatory compliance, assisting with identifying and implementing programs that enhance care delivery and service to Arbor’s residents.
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Alternatives for Seniors is a print and online directory that specifically caters
to the housing and personal care concerns of senior citizens and their families.
When the time comes to find Senior Housing for yourself or a loved one, turn to Alternatives for Seniors. We offer FREE personalized assistance in finding the best senior housing option for you or your loved one. A place that matches your interests, needs and offers the amenties that best suit you –– one that is conveniently located near your loved ones.
Call our Senior Advisors at (888) WE-ASSIST (888-932-7747).
If you are not ready to talk to an Advisor, visit the Alternatives for Seniors website to begin searching for the perfect home. Housing options include: Senior Apartments, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Nursing/Rehab Centers or explore your options such as Adult Day Centers or in-home assitance like Home Care and Hospice.