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Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

senior woman in a swimming pool

Dive in — the Water’s Fine!

Water-based exercise is about much more than just swimming. For seniors, water fitness classes — from Aqua Aerobics to Zumba — offer many pool workouts that will improve your strength, coordination and balance.Pool exercises reduce impact on your body and joints. If you have arthritis pain, back trouble or leg, foot or knee problems, it offers a great low-impact way to stay fit. The buoyancy and warmth of the water soothes away stress and helps you relax.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Whether you sign up for a water aerobics class or prefer the lap lane,  swimming benefits for seniors include:

  • Improving metabolism and strength
  • Assisting with weight loss
  • Slowing age-related loss of muscle mass
  • Helping to keep reflexes sharp

Before starting an in-pool exercise routine, check with your doctor. Aquatic exercise will increase the strength of your muscles and bones, and the stamina of your lungs and heart — but it’s not suitable for everyone. Swimming safety for seniors is top of mind at Lake Seminole Square. Our instructors can help you select a safe and effective fitness plan that incorporates the use of our heated indoor swimming pool.

5 Water Workouts – Make Them as Easy or Hard as You Like

Swimming exercises for seniors take a variety of forms, so snap on your goggles and try, if you haven’t already:

  • Lap swimming — For seniors, it’s best to set a goal of laps or time for each session, and try to swim regularly, ideally at least 3 times a week.
  • Water walking — Walk from one end of the pool to the other, scoring yourself on distance or time. Increase intensity by jogging or marching in place at either end.
  • Flutter kicks  —  With or without a board, kick your legs in a scissor motion to move from one side of the pool to another. You can also stay in place and kick while holding onto the side of the pool.
  • Water aerobics — These classes feature walking and dancing movements set to music. Props like noodles and paddles help vary movements  and increase water resistance. Don’t skip the warmup and cooldown.
  • Water fitness  — Classes use aqua ankle weights, dumbbells and bands. Simple moves such as bicep curls and leg lifts improve strength and balance.
  • Group games — In the mood for a little friendly competition? Join our residents for a game of water volleyball!

Before You Make a Splash…

Take note of these essential safety guidelines:

  • Slow Down: It’s easy to slip getting in and out of the pool. The safest way to enter and exit the water is at the pool entrances with broad steps and the metal handrail. Be especially careful as you step around pool floats, swim noodles or boards, and anything other swimmers have left at the side of the pool. There’s no need to rush.
  • Don’t Go Solo: Even experienced and confident swimmers run into trouble once in a while. Unexpected cramps, dizziness or fatigue can put you at risk. Try to swim with a buddy or in a group if you can. One of our community staff will be willing to keep watch by the pool if needed.
  • Check the Temperature: As we age, we become more sensitive to drastic changes in temperature. Too-cold or too-warm water can be uncomfortable for older adults, especially those affected by arthritis.
  • Drink Water: Even if you don’t notice it, you sweat when you’re in the pool or the hot tub. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after – at least 32 ounces for every hour in the water, and preferably good old H2O.
  • Use Sun Protection: Our skin becomes thinner and more sensitive as we age. When at an outdoor pool, remember to use a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Towel off and reapply the sunscreen after every hour in the water, paying special attention to vulnerable tops of ears, shoulders and feet.
  • Take a Break: Although you feel weightless, exercise in the water can really tire you out because you’re working against its resistance. Stay aware of how you’re feeling and prevent exhaustion by taking a break when you need it. If you feel overheated, don’t stay in the water — if possible, get out and rest to allow your body temperature to normalize.

Swimming exercises for seniors are just one part of the fitness and wellness program at Lake Seminole Square that will keep you feeling great. Dive into life at our active and friendly community — give us a call at 727-314-7432 today.