For senior citizens aging 60 years and up, exercise is a key element in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. But instead of repetitive chair exercises or hard-to-follow yoga videos, why not look to the pool? Swimming incorporates the buoyancy and resistance of water so seniors can circulate every muscle and work on varying areas of their bodies every day. For example, swimming results in significant improvement in eye-hand coordination for many seniors. In fact, according to a study from university researchers in Taiwan, regular swimming improves coordination for the elderly just as much as practicing Tai Chi.
A former Olympian, Dr. Jane Katz, has also realized the beautiful balance of water exercises and has been teaching the benefits of swimming to people of all ages since 1964. She explains in an ABC News video that while the water’s buoyancy allows the body to have more freedom than it might on land, the water’s resistance forces the muscles to flex and work differently than they would on land. These yin-yang qualities make swimming a great exercise to do regularly but still be able to mix up and make fun.
“My energy level is good, my balance has improved, and overall I feel really much better,” says Claudette Ekberg in an ABC News video feature. Even with her physical improvements, Ekberg is not the only elderly swimmer to simply feel happier. Swimming is also proven to help elderly people who suffer from dementia to have increased self-worth, independence, and dignity. This is even something seniors can take part in with the family, so it could be a great way to visit, improve physically, and feel happier all at the same time. So come on in, seniors! The water’s great.