There’s nothing better than a refreshing dip in the pool to combat the July heat, and along with the buoyancy of the water, it offers the added benefit of the perfect low-impact environment to help older adults remain active while alleviating stress to the joints.
Make certain to talk with the older adult’s health care professional first before beginning or changing exercise levels, and then encourage your loved one to dive right into these terrific water exercises for seniors:
- Marching: Marching gets the whole body involved, as the water provides enough resistance to increase the senior’s heart rate. While maintaining good posture and holding arms out to the side for balance, simply march at a rhythmic tempo.
- Kicking. While holding onto a kickboard or the side of the pool, reach the legs straight out behind and kick in a fluttering manner.
- Swinging. While holding onto the edge of the pool with one arm for balance, move one leg forward for a count of five, and then backward for a count of five. Repeat with both legs 12 times.
- Curling. Holding water weights (or bottles of water, if weights are not readily available), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, switching sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is an excellent means to boost muscle tone and strength along with working all of the major muscle groups. If at all possible, swim at a challenging enough pace to boost heart rate and strengthen the lungs.
It is likewise a great idea to take advantage of neighborhood pools and gyms that provide specialized water courses for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only will the senior increase physical activity, but he/she will have the opportunity to make new friends and increase socialization as well.
Recent studies also mention the psychological and cognitive health benefits of merely being nearby the water. Known as “blue space,” the relaxing impacts of water – whether in a natural environment, or even a pool or shower – have been demonstrated to “induce a flood of neurochemicals that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart, and induce relaxation,” according to Wallace Nichols, author of the book Blue Mind.
At Home With You Senior Care, the home health services Columbia, MD experts, we’re committed to helping senior loved ones optimize physical, emotional, and cognitive health every day in lots of ways. For example, we are always readily available to provide accompanied transportation to make it possible for older adults to experience the many benefits of being in or around the water, together with the pleasant companionship to help make every day more fulfilling.