Why exercising in the water is extremely beneficial for the elderly
A regular exercise routine is essential to living a healthy life, which becomes increasingly important as we age and become more vulnerable. We need to adapt our workouts as our abilities change over time, which is why more forgivable lower-intensity exercise such as golf, yoga and walking are highly favourable to the elderly. This is to reduce the risk of injury and help alleviate the stress that exercise can put on our joints.
Swimming and water aerobics offer more of the benefits gained from high-impact level exercises while remaining safe, which allows older adults to get better results and keep fit effectively. There are plenty of advantages that make it worth considering as a go-to fitness choice:
Low risk of injury
There is always some potential risk in partaking in exercise, however aquatic exercises such as water aerobics and swimming are undoubtedly the safest for seniors. This is due to the extremely low rate of injury and the fact that buoyancy removes the potential for falls and loss of balance during exercise. The insulating qualities of water also ensure that our bodies are protected, particularly combined with the low impact on joints and bones.
Swimming may be the best type of water exercise in terms of physical results. However, water aerobics tends to be more sociable as it generally consists of group classes that give you the opportunity to engage in conversation since your head stays above water. Consider joining a class at a nearby gym, neighbourhood pool or senior centre to enjoy good company while getting in shape!
Help bone density
If you are a senior, it is important that you consider strengthening your bones as the ageing process decreases our bone mass, which weakens our bones and may lead to injuries such as fractures. One way to look after your bones is to partake in aqua aerobics. In fact, research has found that weight-bearing water aerobics is just as effective as land-based resistance exercises to increase bone density.
Ageing limbs combined with a worsening vision can cause older adults to lose coordination and increase their risk of falling. Aqua aerobics is an excellent way to work on our balance while being aided by the water’s natural resistance as this removes the risk of falling over and consequently getting injured.
Making quick arm and leg movements in the water builds strength as the water provides resistance. In fact, any action that fights against the push of the water activates the muscles, which helps us develop them as well as improve functional capacity.
Swimming has been proven to significantly increase vascular endothelial function, which helps ward off arterial plaque, strokes, and other serious cardiovascular diseases. It is also great for those suffering from hypertension as swimming has a superior efficacy at reducing people’s resting blood pressure.
A study undertaken on adults between 65 and 80 years old showed that those who engaged in a regular swimming routine displayed considerable gains in cognitive function. In fact, swimming has an effect on both frontal and prefrontal performance, which are areas of the brain that generally decline with age. Therefore it is a great way to slow down the mental ageing process.