Supercharge Your Health – By Swimming!
As we age, it is easy to imagine that exercise is not a realistic option for us anymore, especially if we experience health-related challenges that affect our mobility. Thankfully, the benefits of getting moving are far more accessible when we choose to don a bathing suit! Swimming and other water-based activities offer the perfect low impact (not to mention fun) route to improved health and well-being. This highly social and mood-boosting pastime is so easily accessible that it would be a real shame not to take the plunge!
A Superior Choice For Self-Care
For many of us in later life, aches and pains can make moving around that little bit more difficult than it was for our younger selves. Swimming, and other aquatic exercises such as aqua-aerobics or water-based Pilates, serve as the perfect respite for achy bodies.
As the water supports our bodies, and the resistance of water slows our movements, time in the pool offers a perfectly low-impact way of getting ourselves going! We are far less likely to injure ourselves or feel the joint soreness that older people often associate with physical activity.
In the case of certain health conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis, time spent in the water can offer significant temporary relief from symptoms. For those who find monotonous exercises such as time on a treadmill or stationary bike too boring to adhere to, the diverse and social element of aquatic exercise means that this activity offers something for everyone!
The Rejuvenating Effects Of Time In The Water
A gradual loss of muscle mass can be an irritatingly inevitable impact of ageing unless we make efforts to retain our strength and agility. If we allow our muscles to wane, everyday activities can become increasingly tricky over time. In contrast, through exercising in water, we can retain our strength and mobility without putting unnecessary stress on our joints or getting sweaty!
Aside from the calorie expending activity itself, 15 minutes spent in the pool can burn an impressive 100 calories and maintaining muscle mass makes managing our weight far easier, as well as helping us to retain our every-day independence!
Just as our muscles are inclined to naturally decline with age, our bone density is prone to ebb as we get older too. That is unless we push our bodies to work in such a way that fosters bone health. The resistant nature of water offers the perfect stimulation for improved bone composition, keeping osteoarthritis, and the increased risk of broken bones at bay.
We mentioned the low impact of time spent splashing about on our joints, but it’s also worth recognising that movement in water can improve joint mobility too. In this way, we can stay far more supple, and enjoy the ease in the movement that we would miss were it gone. From bending down to pick something up, to hitting the dance floor, happy joints genuinely seem to make life far more pleasant!
A Boost For Mental Health Too
Coordinating our bodies in the water – be it through practicing our swimming stroke, or learning a new routine in a synchronised swimming class – will boost our mental stimulation and invigorate the mind, which helps to support the retention of memory and focus as we age.
Getting active at any age is scientifically proven to deliver a surge of “happy hormones” such as dopamine and serotonin, leaving us feeling far more energised and positive than we would otherwise. As well as boosting our mood, this also helps us to deal with body pains, and can improve the quality of our sleep too.
Doing something social is widely recognised as a brilliant choice for protecting our mental health and well-being. Interacting with others in a class environment can quickly evolve into the fostering of new friendships, and greater confidence. Feeling at home in the water offers a wonderful chance to engage friends and family, connecting in a relaxed and playful environment.
Learning To Swim For The First Time
If getting wet has never been your thing, perhaps now is the time to re-evaluate your perception, because you are certainly not alone! One in five adults has never learned to swim, but it truly is never too late to take the plunge. Most swimming pools offer one-to-one lessons with experienced instructors, and in their capable hands, you will soon discover that there is no need to feel embarrassed or nervous. In reality, you are sure to feel invigorated by conquering something new!
When taking to the water for the first time, you will be able to set a pace that you are comfortable with. Your swimming instructor will ease you into the learning process and start by making sure that you feel safe in the water before teaching you some basic arm and leg movements with the aid of a flotation device.
For those who may battle with a fear of water, learning to feel confident while submerged for the first time can be an empowering experience. As you begin to master propelling yourself through the water, and your confidence grows, you may find that your body feels a little tired. This is nothing to worry about: it is simply a result of muscles being stimulated that are not used to such effort! This sensation will dissipate quickly, and before you know it you will be enjoying the gentle, stress-relieving and buoyant sensation of aquatic exercise.
Diving Into Making A Splash!
There are many fantastic options when it comes to hitting the water. You might choose to join a class, visit the pool with friends or simply go along to enjoy a quiet swim alone. If the thought of a stimulating class feels appealing, consider the following options:
- Synchronised swimming
- Group swimming classes
- Water jogging
- Water-based yoga
- Water-based Pilates
Before you begin, consult with your doctor to make sure that water-based activity is a safe undertaking for you. Swimming or standing in water does exert pressure on the body, which can add strain to the cardiovascular or breathing systems. If you suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or emphysema, checking in with your GP before hitting the pool is a must.
Reach out to your local swimming facilities, either in person, online or with the help of a friend or family member, to see what they offer that you might enjoy. Remaining physically fit in later life offers so many wonderful and liberating benefits, but any exercise regime is far easier to stick with when you actually enjoy it! For many elderly people, swimming offers a fun, relaxing and leisurely way of keeping the body strong and supple, making it an incredibly popular choice.
If you’re looking for any type of live-in or personal care in the UK please contact us today to speak to one of our friendly advisors.