As the weather warms up, many of us may be inspired to go for a dip in the pool, cool down by dipping our feet in the water or lounge poolside in the shade. Not only is swimming relaxing but it also has numerous understated health benefits, especially for seniors who may be suffering with arthritis or other muscle pains and weaknesses.
The hidden health benefits of swimming go beyond the physical since swimming can reduce stress and its soothing effect may even provide relief from anxiety for to those suffering from dementia. Please note that is important to have proper supervision when necessary.
Below is a list of 7 benefits of swimming this summer. Dive on in!
- Low Impact Exercise. When our bodies are mid-waist in water, we only have to support 50% of our body weight due to the water’s buoyancy. This allows us to exercise with more of our muscle power while experiencing less external force and pressure on joints.
- Improved Muscle Tone. In contrast to numerous aerobic exercises, which can be high impact and stressful, swimming encourages a rise in muscle development because of the water’s resistance. This increased strength and balance from swimming can be helpful in reducing fall risk.
- Improved Flexibility: While being kept afloat by the water, and with its resistance, swimming strokes can allow the limbs to stretch and flex further, which promotes and improves flexibility in the joints and ligaments.
- Heart Healthy Workout. Simply walking is a heart-healthy activity when it can be performed for 30 minutes a day. In the same way, swimming for 30 minutes a day can decrease heart disease by up to 30 to 40 percent in women, according to the American Heart Association.
- Healthy Weight Maintenance. Swimming is an effective way to burn calorie to help maintain a healthy weight. While the amount of calories burned is different for each individual, a common rule of thumb is that a person can burn 60 to 150 calories for every 10 minutes of swimming they perform, depending on the intensity.
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support. Swimming is believed to be useful for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive decline by providing a social environment, in the instance of pool exercise classes, and by reviving early memories of swimming. It is also believed to help reduce anxiety for those who suffer with dementia because of its relaxing and calming effect.
- Painful Arthritis Relief. The floating involved in swimming may help those who experience joint pain or pressure from arthritis. In addition, soreness from other types of movement can be diminished from the increased and strengthened muscle tone built by swimming.
The benefits of swimming and safe pool use is wide and varied. Whether exercise is performed in a personal or community pool with or without a class, always follow safe practices, such as never swimming alone and always using waterproof sunscreen for exposed skin. Swim in a slightly heated pool, if possible. Lastly, have fun! Swimming and just being in the pool, or any body of water, can marry the health benefits of swimming with the simple pleasure of playing in the water.