Just Keep Swimming

Posted by Kia Crawford on August 9th, 2012 in Alpharetta, GA, Body, Research | No Comments

Want to offset the ravages of time? “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” Okay, I couldn’t resist a little Finding Nemo humor.

The longer we remain active, the better we feel and perhaps longer we live. We certainly get our share of activity here at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Alpharetta. Just because we grow older does not mean we should stop being physically active and strive for optimal fitness. Older adults have been staying active a number of ways including fun aerobics and less strenuous exercises such as walking. Walking is certainly affective, but can become redundant after a while. One great way to exercise, even beyond the the summer month, is swimming. The benefits of swimming are numerous and many seniors have taken up this refreshing form of exercise.

Benefits of Swimming

Water exercise is an excellent start for those who are just starting out with an new exercise regimen, but water based activities are also great alternative for seniors. Swimming is considered a low impact activity. The water’s buoyancy makes most aquatic activities gentle enough for senior adults, yet rigorous enough to keep them fit. Swimming works all major muscle groups.  Movement in water has far greater resistance than normal aerobics. Working on balance and coordination in the water is far less dangerous than working on it on solid ground. The likelihood of injury is greatly reduced because it essentially removes the effects of gravity. Water decreases a persons weight up to 90%. All of  this combined lowers the risk of falls for senior adults.

Swimming is also great for cardiovascular health as it helps to work both the heart and lungs. Swimming is like  aerobics and resistance training all rolled into one. It is just as beneficial as running, but without the wear and tear on your tissues and joints. With the decrease in fall risk and cardiovascular wellness, swimming is a great alternative for seniors. We actuallyoffer several aquatics classes at our independent living community The Holbrook at Lake Lanier such as water aerobics and Zumba at the indoor lap pool. In the upcoming months we will create new partnerships with local clubs to provide more extensive water programs to our residents.

Note: It is important to remember to do water aerobics in the warmer water. Cold water could stiffen the joints of those with arthritis.

Here are a few great water activities to keep your body in supreme condition:

  1. Swimming:  Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. It works everything.
  2. Resistance Training: As mentioned above, the resistance in water is 12 times the resistance in air which allows for great strength building.
  3. Aerobics: Spice it up with dancing with programs like Zumba. This is a great way to break a sweat and have fun doing it!
  4. Balance and Coordination: As mentioned above, the risk factors involved with coordination exercises in the water is far less than attempting them on land.
  5. Relaxation: Just float and enjoy. This exercise could bring your stress level down and loosen tight muscles.