July 28, 2022
6 Benefits of Aquatic Therapy and Water Exercise for Seniors that Make a Splash
Summer is in full swing and there’s no better way to beat the heat than with a dip in the pool. But activities like aquatic therapy and other types of water exercise are beneficial all year round, especially for seniors. And with indoor pools like we have in two of our senior living communities, it’s easy to enjoy as well!
Benefits of Aquatic Therapy and Exercise for Seniors
We talk all the time about how active seniors are today and exercise is one of the key ways to keep mind, body, and soul happy and healthy. There are a number of ways to exercise using water including aerobic movement, strength training, yoga, water jogging, and swimming. Aquatic therapy is simply therapeutic treatment using water. Both are beneficial to seniors in a number of ways.
- Reducing joint pain – Hydrostatic pressure, the molecular strength of fluids exerted on the body when immersed in water, helps reduce swelling, increases range of motion, and can reduce blood collection in the extremities which can improve circulation as well as backflow of veins; all of which reduces joint pain.
- Improving heart and lung function – Movement in water can facilitate blood flow to the heart and lungs and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Due to water’s hydrostatic pressure, simply being immersed in water compresses the body’s blood upward, improving blood flow and efficiency of heart contractions.
- Increase body strength and flexibility – Any activity in water is a type of resistance exercise which can help build muscle strength for seniors. It also improves flexibility in your neck, arms, legs, and hips which helps with posture, balance, coordination and reduces your risk of injury.
- Increase bone strength – Loss of density in the bones causes them to weaken as we age, however muscle movements that constrict and loosen during swimming can increase muscle strength and as a result, strengthen the bones.
- Improves brain function – Immersion in warm water causes the nerves in the brainstem and spine to find balance while simultaneously improving the body’s ability to oxygenate. This leads to improved cognitive abilities in individuals with communication disabilities or with dementia.
- Helps with injury recovery and rehab — water exercises are often prescribed by physical therapists because aquatic therapy decreases swelling and improves joint position awareness.
- Keeping weight in check – Water exercises are one of the best ways to burn body fat as more energy is expended when moving through water. This can help seniors lose and/or maintain a healthy body weight.
- Keeping you toned – Yes, seniors can have toned bodies, too! And water exercise is a great way to achieve it as these types of resistance activities are similar to dance aerobics but with less impact on the joints.
- Reducing stress – Exercising in and of itself causes the body to release endorphins which reduces stress, and water exercise is no different. Combine that with the social interaction in aquatic therapy as well as water exercise and it’s just plain fun, which also helps to reduce stress!
- Improves functional movement – Because water minimizes the effects of gravity, it’s a great environment to practice functional movements like walking, squatting, and reaching without the risk of injury.
Keep in mind that you should always talk to your doctor before beginning any type of new water exercise or aquatic therapy regimen.
Indoor Pools at GenCare Lifestyle
Our signature Whole Life Living™ helps seniors achieve better health and well-being with a holistic approach to wellness that creates opportunities to eat better, be more active and engaged, and live with purpose in a community of friends ready to cheer you on.
All our communities feature a fitness center with a complimentary, onsite certified personal trainer for our residents. Plus, two of our communities, Ballard, and Point Ruston, have indoor pools so you can enjoy the benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise for seniors rain or shine, all year long!
For more information on senior living at GenCare Lifestyle, contact a community near you, or schedule a tour today!