Senior citizens enjoy water aerobics at a local YMCA.

Benefits of Swimming

Swimming isn’t just a great way to cool off in the South Georgia heat, it’s also a great exercise option for older adults. You also don’t have to have your own pool to enjoy it. Many YMCAs and community centers have pools you may be able to use. In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of swimming for seniors.

  • Improves heart health. Swimming is a type of cardiovascular exercise, which means it increases your heart rate and respiration and raises your oxygen and blood flow throughout your body. Like other cardiovascular exercises, swimming can strengthen your heart and overall cardiovascular health and endurance. It may also lower your blood pressure, improve your circulation, and help reduce the risk of heart and lung disease.
  • Gentle on your joints. Unlike other cardio exercises, swimming is easy on your joints because you’re essentially weightless in the water. If you struggle with arthritis or other joint pain and discomfort, swimming can offer a full body workout without pressure on your hips, knees, or spine.
  • Reduces osteoporosis risk. Like other exercises, swimming can improve your bone mineral density, and this can help fight osteoporosis. This is especially important for many women, as a third of women over 50 break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Increases flexibility. Stretching before and after exercising can improve your flexibility, but just swimming alone can help with flexibility in your hips, legs, arm, and neck.
  • Improves muscle strength and tone. Swimming uses just about all of your muscle groups and can offer both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. If you swim often, you will start to see long, lean muscle tone forming from all your efforts.
  • Improves mental health. Much like other forms of exercise, swimming can work to reduce your stress, improve your mood, and increase your brain function. If you take a swimming class, this offers the bonus of combating social isolation and loneliness that can lead to depression in many older adults.

Check out our Senior Center Without Walls page to learn more about how SCOA funds activities for seniors within our 14-county service area.