a senior woman swims in an indoor pool

What are the Health Benefits of Swimming?

Swimming is one of the most popular activities people of all ages engage in all around the world.We all have childhood memories of spending hot summer days cooling off at the pool, lake or ocean. 
But swimming is also one of the very best exercises, especially for older adults. The list of health benefits of swimming is a long one, and it’s hard to find a downside. Let’s look at some of the benefits of swimming for seniors:

Good for Muscles and Bones

When you swim, you use every major muscle in your body. There are very few exercises that this can be said about, while also being safe. Because swimming works your whole body, you’re getting a complete workout in a shorter amount of time. Also, the water adds a bit of resistance to your motion, which works those muscles better than being on land. 
As we age, we lose muscle mass, so it’s important to stay active.  Seniors can sometimes also lose bone mass –  a condition called osteoporosis. This can greatly increase the risk of injury from a fall that would be harder to recover from if you have poor bone health. An exercise like swimming gives you the resistance your bones need to maintain density and strength.

Good for Weight Management

There’s no better way to burn calories than to work all of your major muscle groups at once. And that’s exactly what swimming does. You’ll burn many more calories for the time you put in than with other exercises that are popular with seniors, like walking.
Also as we age, our metabolism slows. Regular exercise is shown to boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout your entire day, not just while you’re exercising. Fitness experts often recommend a combination of cardiovascular exercise and weight training, and swimming is the perfect combination of both. It’s also shown to help control blood sugar.

Good for Balance and Flexibility

One of the great benefits of swimming for seniors is that it’s great for your joints. Even if you live with joint pain or stiffness, you can experiment with a variety of swimming strokes, and can surely find one that’s comfortable for you. Many older adults say that they experience a decrease in joint pain and stiffness because of swimming regularly, and many studies have shown this to be true.

The movements involved in swimming work your muscles in a way that makes them long and lean, stretching, rather than compressing them. This is great for overall strength, but also can improve balance and flexibility, reducing the risk of injury from a fall. Even seniors with some sort of physical limitation like arthritis, or who are recovering from an injury, can get a great workout in the pool.

Good for Your Heart

There’s little that’s more important for older adults than cardiovascular health. According to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. This is often due to improper eating habits and a lack of exercise. Swimming strengthens your heart, may help lower your blood pressure, and can help strengthen your lungs, because you’re engaging in deep, controlled breathing. 
One study by the CDC showed that people who swim have practically half the risk of death of people who don’t exercise. Another study showed that swimming for 30 minutes a day can reduce heart disease in women by 30 to 40 percent. It’s hard to beat those results when you’re talking about the health benefits of swimming.

You should, of course, talk to your doctor to find out if your heart is healthy enough for swimming or any other exercise before beginning a new workout routine.

Good for Your Mood

The health benefits of swimming go beyond even all the fitness and physical health benefits listed above. It’s not uncommon for older adults to sometimes experience insomnia, and regularly participating in aerobic exercise is known to help you get a better night’s sleep. And waking refreshed in the morning is the best way to start your day.
Exercise has also been shown to help you manage stress and anxiety. The health and vigor you can experience from staying in shape with swimming is a great way to work off stress and feel good about yourself. Studies have shown that exercise can even decrease symptoms of depression by causing your body to produce endorphins, which help you feel good and can reduce pain.
Another way to boost your mood is to have fun with your friends. A quality pool facility will offer water exercise classes that are a great way to socialize and interact with people around you. Socialization is particularly important for older adults and has been shown to increase quality of life and overall health.

Swimming at Canterbury Court

Our heated indoor pool facility is one of the top-quality amenities we offer our residents. Lap swimming, aqua classes and swimming lessons are available year-round. We even incorporate water exercises for gentle resistance and help with balance for residents who are receiving physical rehabilitation.
We’re so confident in the health benefits of swimming that we make it a focus to offer the best swimming experience you can find. And when you combine that with the rest of our wide range of exercise opportunities, our delicious and nutritious meals, and fun, vibrant atmosphere, our residents are living their best lives, each and every day.
To find out more about our floor plans, wellness programs, and all the other reasons you’ll love it here, contact us.