The 5 benefits of swimming for those over 65August 22, 2022
People’s lives are complicated and demanding at any age, but after 65 we face a new world where health problems are increased. Our weapons to deal with them are drugs and surgery. Some of these, however, could be prevented or delayed by simply making exercise a part of our daily routine with lifeguard recertification.
However, keeping older people active is often difficult. Among other things, bone and joint pain can make exercise especially difficult, which is why it’s the last thing they want to do. But water exercises can improve their physical condition without straining the joints.
“Swimming benefits health, well-being, mental state, and therefore offers a good quality of life for men and women after the age of 65. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, for example, reports that swimming and exercise in water can be the best form of exercise to reduce the risk of falls in the elderly, thanks to the improvement of balance and strengthening of the core muscles that it offers.
Unlike many other forms of exercise, it has a low impact and presents a minimal risk of injury”, points out Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Dimitris Triantafyllopoulos , Director of the Orthopedic Clinic and Director of the Bloodless-Non-Transfusion Orthopedic Surgery Department of the Athens Medical Group – Peristeri Clinic, and explains to us specifically what are the benefits of swimming for the elderly:
Strengthens the body
The passage of time has a negative effect on the body, which gradually loses its strength and endurance. Swimming and water exercise in general helps maintain a healthy weight, which is key to avoiding many illnesses and injuries, and reducing chronic pain.
It strengthens the muscles
Aging is always accompanied by muscle loss, which leads to reduced strength. Swimming is joint-friendly and tones all the muscles of the body at the same time, due to the resistance of water, which is about twelve times denser than air.
The practitioner feels that he is carrying only half his weight, a percentage that decreases the higher the water is on the body (waist or shoulder). Walking speed also plays a role – the faster the greater the resistance and the greater the increase in muscle strength.
Maintaining balance should be a goal for every aging person and this can only be achieved through exercise. But most seniors have limitations in the physical activity they can do.
They usually resort to walking, but this is not enough to sufficiently strengthen the core muscles and improve balance, unlike swimming. Thus, those who swim largely avoid falls, which at these ages often lead to fractures.
Maintaining flexibility can also help prevent injuries. Aging takes away mobility and flexibility but swimming reverses this process.
The joints still move in a normal range without pain, and the muscles become strong enough to support the joints. Also, swimming can help improve muscle coordination, reduce pain and improve posture.
It reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Reduced bone density affects millions of postmenopausal women (and men) and leaves them vulnerable to many arthritic conditions. Bone loss and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue are directly related to a decrease in bone strength and subsequently to an increased risk of fracture, which ultimately leads to conditions clinically known as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Osteoporotic fractures are responsible for excess morbidity, chronic pain, reduced quality of life, and admission to long-term care facilities.
Activities such as swimming can reduce these risks by boosting bone density. Aqua aerobics, which includes walking in water, dancing and other aerobic exercises, is a form of exercise that helps slow bone loss.
“Swimming and water activities are ideal exercise for seniors. It is a pleasant way to strengthen their musculoskeletal system, as well as their cardiovascular and respiratory systems. At the same time, it is an inexpensive way to avoid weight gain, which helps to avoid the occurrence of osteoarthritis, one of the main causes of pain and disability. Above all, however, it helps to avoid fractures either from a fall or from osteoporosis, which have a high mortality rate.