The Health Benefits of Swimming
You often hear stories about some senior citizens who swim 20 laps everyday and have endless energy. It seems there’s more to it than being sprightly: there are genuine health benefits to swimming and it’s a natural choice for the elderly.
Water buoyancy reduces the impact on our skeletal system. When you’re in water you feel lighter. This is because the water bears some of your weight. The more you immerge in water the less weight you will feel. From the waist down the reduction is 50% and gradually increasing to 90% when you are neck deep in. Warm water also loosens stiff joints and this form of exercise is useful for the overweight or the arthritis inflicted.
Aquatics are excellent for all ages and reduce many risky factors in exercising such as heat stroke or falling, which makes it ideal for older folk. Water exercising also has the power to give more frail people mobility, which does wonders for both body and mind. Just being in the water helps because water is denser than air by 12 times, so any movement will allow for more strength to develop by sheer increased resistance.
If you’re not up for swimming laps, you’ll be happy to hear there are more choices. Water walking is tremendously beneficial, and if you’re more social or need motivation by means of an instructor, your local pool or gym might offer water based classes such as aqua aerobics, aqua ballet, or aqua Zumba.
Strength and Muscle Tone
Unlike other forms of exercise, swimming engages and coordinates all the large muscles groups. The stretching and movement of various joints and ligaments allow for increased flexibility. It not only improves muscular strength but works on toning and shaping your muscles. Water based exercise has also been shown to improve bone strength and density, playing a role in reducing osteoporosis.
Helps with Asthma Symptoms & Builds Lung Volume
Another added benefit that swimming promotes is with lung volume and asthma. The practise of regular swimming is thought to teach proper breathing techniques and also increase lung volume. The moist air of a swimming pool proves a optimal location for asthmatics and the swimming itself has been shown to reduce asthma attacks and symptoms such as snoring and mouth-breathing.
Fights Heart Disease, Cholesterol, and Diabetes
Sound a bit like a miracle drug, but this water activity is valuable exercise for your heart. The heart becomes stronger and better at pumping, which in turn prompts better blood flow. Aerobic exercise reduces high blood pressure and resists inflammatory responses that helps prevent other heart diseases.
Another health benefit of swimming and aerobic exercise is lowering bad cholesterol levels. The ratio between good cholesterol (known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL) and bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) is balanced with aerobics. Closely related to this is endothelium, a medical name for a layer of cells that line arteries, which loses flexibility with age. Aerobics and swimming aid in keeping this strong.
Glycemic control is improved by swimming too. Type 1 Diabetes is helped as swimming can increase insulin sensitivity, and the risk of developing Type 2 has proven to be reduced with water workouts too.
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Swimming is one of the best calories burning forms of exercise. While it does depend on your build and intensity, swimming can reduce body fat. It’s an excellent exercise choice for overweight people because the water reduces knee and ankle problems that often trouble those with weight issues.
Looking at the various strokes, we can count hundred of calories that can easily be burned. For 10 minutes swimming the breathstroke, you can lose 60 calories. It goes up to 80 for backstroke, 100 for freestyle and 150 for butterfly stroke.
Mental Benefits & Elevated Mood
Swimming has added benefits besides fighting diseases and strengthening the body. It also engages the mind, relieves stress and generally improves mood. When you swim you are more relaxed and experience a natural high because your body releases endorphins. The deep rhythmic breathing and repetitive motions can be considered meditative, much like yoga. Hippocampal neurogenesis takesplace when you swim. That’s just biological jargon for replacement of lost brain cells.
The act of going to a pool can also facilitate the elderly with social interaction. You are less isolated because you have a chance to leave your home and are more likely to engage with other people at the pool.
Now you’ve read the benefits of swimming. What are you waiting for? Go hit your local pool, or if you live close to a warm watered sea or lake, dive in. You’ll not only have fun, but might live longer and healthier.