The Benefits of Aquatic Exercise for Aging Bodies

The importance of regular exercise doesn’t diminish as we age. In fact, an age-appropriate exercise program can go a long way towards maintaining a healthy active lifestyle well into the senior years.

If you or someone you love have been trying to maintain an exercise program into your senior years, however,  you know all too well that many health issues associated with getting older can make exercise challenging. Pain or discomfort caused by arthritis, joint disease, or other chronic health conditions may make forms of exercise that you once enjoyed much more difficult. Or perhaps fear of falling because of poor vision or mobility issues has made you hold back.

Enter aquatic exercise. Believe it or not, exercising in water can minimize or eliminate many of the obstacles that you may be battling with. In addition, it also offers many benefits that make it an appealing choice for seniors.

 7 Benefits of Aquatic Exercise

  1. There is a low risk of falling. Balance issues can be a major factor in preventing seniors from getting needed exercise. Exercise done in water that is at least waist deep eliminates this problem, allowing for full engagement in an exercise program without fear of falling. It can also help to increase posture awareness, improving overall balance and decreasing the risk of falling on land as well.
  2. It is less painful. Joint and muscle pain, as well as pain caused by other chronic health conditions, can make exercise difficult and unpleasant. Aquatic exercise is low impact, putting less stress on aching joints and muscles, and allows for longer sessions of pain-free exercise.
  3. It encourages heart health. Just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean that aquatic exercise doesn’t get the blood pumping. It raises heart rate, increases aerobic capacity and endurance, and burns fat. All of this lowers the risk of heart disease.
  4. It builds strength. If you’ve ever tried to move around in the water, you’ve noticed that you feel some resistance. What this means is that exercise done in the water is a great way to do some low impact resistance training, building muscle strength and endurance.
  5. It promotes healing. Hydrostatic pressure ( the type of pressure exerted on your body by the water) reduces joint inflammation and soft tissue swelling. This pressure, along with heat if you’re exercising in a warm water pool, also increases blood flow to injured areas, further encouraging the healing process.
  6. It increases flexibility. The decreased pain associated with moving stiff joints in the water allows for exercise that can lessen joint stiffness, decrease pain, and increase joint flexibility.
  7. It offers opportunities to socialize. There are many benefits of maintaining social connections as we age. Aquatic exercise is often done in groups, providing many chances to form and maintain social relationships that can contribute much to quality of life outside the pool.

Many seniors also benefit from aquatic therapy to help with recovery from surgery or injury.

Before beginning an aquatic exercise program, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor, as there are some conditions that may make this type of activity inadvisable. If your doctor gives you the green light, you may find that this form of exercise is just what you were looking for.

The Davis Community Offers Rehabilitation at Its Finest

The Davis Community has a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center where our residents can exercise and/or recover from their surgeries using modern equipment designed especially for seniors. Our warm salt water pool offers seniors the opportunity to experience the many benefits of aquatic exercise or therapy. We take pride in offering the best rehabilitation in Wilmington NC. If you or an aging parent need physical rehabilitation, then visit our Facebook page to learn more about the fitness center at Davis Community. Or, for more information about our retirement community, nursing homes, or skilled nursing services, just give us a call today at 910-566-1200.

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