You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has something negative to say about the health benefits of swimming. That’s because of one simple fact: swimming is fun. There is just no doubt about it, and having fun is, well, fun! But did you know that swimming has other benefits, especially for individuals over the age of 55?
Here are a few of the top benefits:
1) Swimming increases muscle tone and strength. Many seniors have day-to-day mobility issues and pain that can make many types of exercise difficult. Swimming is one of the easiest ways for seniors with physical limitations to stay active and build muscle tone and strength.
2) Swimming improves flexibility and balance. Flexibility and balance are some of the most important skills for older adults. These things help prevent falls, which become more dangerous as we age. Swimming can vastly improve flexibility and balance and, thus, mobility. The act of swimming forces your body to make a very broad range of motions. This subsequently allows joints and ligaments to stay limber. When you swim, your arms swing, your head and spine twist, and with every single stroke, you stretch your body from head to toe. “Voilà!”: flexibility! In addition, research shows that seniors who swim regularly are one-third less likely to fall and injure themselves.
3) Swimming is heart-healthy. Swimming is an aerobic exercise, which strengthens the heart, leads to better blood flow, and can even combat inflammation (shown to have a link to heart disease) in your body. Just 30 minutes of pool exercise a day, three days a week, has provided significant health benefits to seniors. What a great way to get moving!
4) Swimming helps you control your weight. The act of swimming is also considered one of the best ways to burn calories, which is a key to controlling your weight. The number of calories used while you swim depends on many factors (e.g., your physiology and the intensity with which you swim, and which stroke you decide to use), but generally speaking, for every 10 minutes of swimming you perform, you can burn anywhere from 60 to 150 calories.
There you have it: swimming is fun AND good for you! Now get out and enjoy that pool. It’s good for your heart and your happiness!