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Let Swimming Become Your Exercise of Choice in Retirement
A swim at the Westminster Village aquatic area in the Live Well Fitness Center is more than an enjoyable activity. Active adults swim as a part of a healthy wellness plan. Joints, muscles and mood benefit from laps around the pool. Experts say that it is possibly the single most beneficial exercise a senior adult can do.
Swimming is a low impact, low risk exercise that works all areas of the body. Most experts agree that there are four types of water exercises:
- Basic swimming, laps up and down the pool
- Water aerobics – aerobic exercise like walking and dancing in the water
- Water resistance exercises – moving your legs and arms against the resistance of the water
- Water relaxation exercises – yoga or Pilates done in the water relaxes and can reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress
Just like experts agree on the types of water exercise, they all include the following list in their reasons for seniors to participate in aquatic exercise:
- Improves heart health.
- Gentle on the joints.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Increases flexibility.
- Improve muscle strength and tone.
- Boosts mental health.
As with any other exercise, consistency is important. An active adult will probably want to swim at least 2-3 times a week if this is the only form of aerobic activity. Swimming might also be part of a varied plan of aerobic exercise, too. And, again like other exercises, 20-30 minutes a day is a good time to spend in the water if you want to see results.
Swimming is great exercise for those with arthritis
Dr. Tanaka of the University of Texas at Austin began a study of swimming in relation to active older adults who suffer from arthritis. He says that no real studies have been done on the effects of swimming on this population. In an article by Jason Gelt, Tanaka is quoted as saying “I wanted to determine if swimming is effective in reducing arterial stiffness,” said Tanaka. “The reason your blood pressure shoots up as you get older is that your arteries become stiff.
He found that “swimming is better than other forms of exercise for these patients, as long as benefits are verified. Now we’re getting the research findings to back it up. Finally.”
Other forms of water therapy benefit seniors
The warm or hot water of a whirlpool spa benefits seniors too. A whirlpool spa combines heat, buoyancy and massage that relaxes and soothes. The spa jets massage and help improve circulation and relieve muscle tension and stress.
Hydrotherapy can be used to treat people who have had
- a respiratory infection
- multiple sclerosis
- carpal tunnel syndrome
It can reduce stress and headaches, make sleep more effective, improve blood sugar levels and decrease blood pressure.
Swimming and water therapy have definite benefits for the active older adult. People who work out in the water don’t suffer from a lot of stress on their bodies. It’s an exercise that can also be relaxing and fun. Which is what a retired lifestyle should be all about – giving you the health to enjoy all that a retirement community like Westminster Village has to offer.
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.