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By now you are probably plenty familiar with the benefits of exercise for older adults. Exercise offers a wide range of benefits including improved heart health, enhanced flexibility and stronger muscles. It can also help seniors sleep better, eat better and enjoy better moods.

Even with all the benefits to senior exercise, it’s challenging to get Mom or Dad out there when they are stubborn or experiencing physical pain. But, it’s possible that you haven’t tried the one activity that most seniors won’t object to: swimming.

Why Swimming is Great for Seniors

Swimming is an exercise that is highly advantageous for seniors because it offers all the benefits of physical activity without putting strain on the body. Swimming also presents very little risk of injury and is low impact. This makes it a great workout for older adults, even those who wouldn’t be able to participate in traditional activities like walking or yoga.

Let’s take a closer look at the perks you can expect to see by incorporating swimming into your parent’s routine.

  • Improved heart health
  • Less joint discomfort
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved muscle strength and tone
  • Boosted mental health
  • Enhanced confidence

Swimming is Adaptive

Another perk to swimming is that it’s an adaptive sport, meaning that it can be modified for just about anyone. Whether a person is paralyzed, disabled or handicapped, swimming is possible. As a matter of fact, swimmers with physical limitations can enjoy the same benefits from water as someone without them.

Before taking your loved one swimming, call ahead and find out when the best time to come is and what accommodations can be made. Many public swimming pools have special equipment, or you may be able to bring your own. Examples include:

  • Inflatable rings
  • Vests and body swimsuits
  • Pull buoys
  • Ramps and mobile lifts
  • Prosthetic options

Getting Started

Your loved one doesn’t have to do anything special in the water to see the benefits. Just by being in the water, they can enjoy less discomfort, better flexibility and a happier mood. But if you think they can take on some exercises, don’t hesitate to try them out.

Many seniors can do water resistance exercises such as arm curls and calf raises. There are also swimming exercises that brush up on the basics of swimming. Your parent may also enjoy a water aerobics class or a water relaxation class that focuses on lowering blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels.

If you feel strongly about getting your loved one to participate in more physical activities, swimming may be the answer you’ve been looking for!