Wondering how to keep cool this summer as a senior? We have the perfect solution for you! Swimming. Not only does it beat the heat, but it has a variety of great health benefits. In this blog post, we will review the biggest advantages to jumping in the pool this summer!
Swimming laps in a pool helps increase your overall cardiovascular endurance. Instead of running and putting pressure on your joints, swimming has the same effect with less impact. You are getting your heart rate up and learning how to use oxygen in your body more efficiently. The more your swim, the more your heart and lungs get used to working harder and ultimately increasing your endurance. In short, you may find that you can only swim a few laps your first time in the pool, but the more you stick with it, you will find that you can swim farther each time. According to a Harvard Heatlh Article, a 2009 study from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas highlighted the cardiovascular benefits across swimming, running and non-exercisers. Of the 46,000 person sample group, Swimmers had the best blood pressure, cholesterol levels and maximum energy output. It goes without saying that swimming is the way to go!
As a senior, it’s important to keep your muscles strong as we tend to experience less muscle growth the older we get. The arm and leg motions necessary to swim laps helps keep our muscles in tip top shape! The resistance of our muscles against the water repeatedly has a tremendously positive effect on help build up our muscle mass. After time, you will probably start to notice that your legs feel stronger (which helps keep a steady base) and your arms as well.
Aside from the physical benefits to swimming, there are some great mental benefits as well. Swimming for many is a way to relax, unwind and let go of the worries we have in life. Similar to other forms of exercise, swimming releases endorphins that helps stabilize our mood and give us energy to keep going. It’s a healthy way to keep stress at bay, which we somehow have too much of the older we get! Aside from endorphins, many people find swimming very meditative. Whether you are swimming outdoors or inside at the gym, it’s a relaxing environment that allows you to focus on your swimming laps and push all other worries aside. Whether we realize it in the moment or not, this meditative practice prepares us to tackle future obstacles that may come our way.
As you can see, swimming is a great way to strengthen not just your body, but your mind as well. It has so many benefits, that we can’t say enough about it! If you have not swam before and would like to learn, you can always start small! Check to see if your local gym or recreational center has senior swim classes. This will get you comfortable and understand the basics to swimming on your own.
If you are a seasoned veteran and learned how to swim long ago, well now is a great time to get back into it! See if your local pool has senior hours in the AM, before the pool opens to the public to get in your laps or see if your local park district has a pool that offers the same senior swim hours.
Whether you’re new to swimming or getting back into it, you will find a number of long term benefits that you will be grateful for. Remember the age old saying…a body in motion stays in motion!