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5 Benefits of Swimming for Seniors

A senior couple does a water workout.

The benefits of swimming for seniors are unparalleled. The sense of weightlessness and the cushioning effect of water take away what gravity aggravates, i.e., sore muscles, bad joints, and poor balance. There’s no straining, only fluid motion. You get the value of a resistance workout, but it’s much friendlier to your body than lifting weights.

That makes swimming one of the very best senior exercises. If you’re not sold yet, keep reading for five more reasons to jump in the pool. 

1. You’ll Gain Strength

You can’t run from age, but you can fight back. Everyone is prone to increased weakness as they age, but swimming and water aerobics — both forms of resistance exercise — add back lost strength. Even though swimming is easier on your joints than typical resistance exercises, it has a similar toning effect due to the density of water. Fun fact: Water is about 12 times more resistant than air. 

2. It’s a Brain Boost!

One of the wonderful benefits of swimming for seniors is that the activity prompts your body to release endorphins, a hormone that triggers a positive feeling. Exercise reduces stress levels, lowers anxiety, and increases brain functions. Regular water workouts have also been shown to boost executive functioning in seniors.

3. Improved Bone Health

Women, especially, are vulnerable to the loss of bone strength as they age. Doctors often recommend resistance training to help offset the effects. Swimming is the kindest type of resistance exercise and, when you swim regularly, you’re helping maintain your bone strength and density. Even just walking in the shallow end of the pool offers resistance training for the legs. 

4. Pain Reduction

One big benefit that sets swimming apart from other senior exercises is that the water creates a cushion for your joints. The less-jarring movements keep you from experiencing discomfort in your back, knees, and hips. This makes it an ideal senior exercise for those with arthritis. 

5. Increased Flexibility

Gaining flexibility in the neck, arms, legs, and hips is one of the top benefits of swimming for seniors, and being more flexible also leads to improved strength, posture, balance, and coordination, as well as a reduced risk of injury. This is all thanks to the natural resistance and gentle stretching water provides as you move your arms and legs through it.

What’s Stopping You From Diving In?

With all those benefits, swimming is one of the best senior exercises. Yet we’re not all clamoring to get in the pool.

Some of us hold back because we were never great swimmers. It may come as a surprise that you don’t even need to know how to swim to participate in — and benefit from — most water aerobics classes, which are held in the shallow end of the pool.   

For others, it’s a feeling that their bathing suit era is over. Whether that’s rational or not isn’t the point. If you don’t want to wear a bathing suit, you don’t have to. 

These days, you’ll see both women and men doing water aerobics or swimming in everything from t-shirts and swim tights to full-coverage swim tunics and long-sleeved tops. Put the search words “full coverage swim clothing for men/women” in your browser and see all the options that come up! You could even go with a super cute swimdress like this one from Lands’ End.

One additional tip to keep in mind: Be sure to talk to your doctor first to confirm swimming is a good match for your current health condition.

It’s Easy to Stay Active at Monroe Village

At Monroe Village, we believe that senior fitness is a big part of living your best life. But instead of leaving you to figure it out on your own, we offer a wide variety of senior exercises through our award-winning LivWell program. Not surprisingly, two of the most popular options for both women and men are our aquatic exercise classes and lane swimming in our beautiful heated pool. Working out in the water is refreshing, invigorating, and a fun way to socialize! Schedule a visit to find out more about our active senior living community in Monroe Township, New Jersey. 


Need information? Check our resources.

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