There is practically nothing greater than a relaxing dip in the pool to combat the July heat, and with the buoyancy of the water, it provides the added advantage of being the ideal low-impact environment for helping older adults remain active while relieving pressure to their joints.
Before beginning or adjusting exercise levels, be sure to speak with a senior’s health care provider first and then encourage a senior loved one to dive into these great water-based exercises:
- Marching: Marching will get the whole body involved, as the water offers a sufficient amount of resistance to increase a senior’s heart rate. While maintaining good posture and holding arms off to the side for balance, simply march at a rhythmic speed.
- Kicking. While holding onto a kickboard or the side of the pool, stretch the legs straight out behind and kick in a fluttering manner.
- Swinging. While holding onto the side of the pool with one arm for balance, swing one leg forward for a count of five, and then backward for a count of five. Repeat with both legs 12 times.
- Curling. Grasping water weights (or bottles of water, if weights are not available), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, switching sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is a fantastic solution to boost muscle tone and strength while working each of the major muscle groups. If at all possible, swim at a challenging enough pace to raise heart rate and strengthen the lungs.
It is also a good idea to take advantage of neighborhood pools and gyms that offer specialized water classes for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only can a senior loved one increase physical activity, but he/she will have the chance to make new friends and enhance socialization also.
Recent studies also emphasize the psychological and cognitive health benefits of simply being near the water. Described as “blue space,” the pleasing effects of water – whether in a natural setting, and even a pool or shower – have been shown 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.
Absolute Companion Care, home care Baltimore, MD families trust, is dedicated to helping senior loved ones enhance physical, emotional, and cognitive health on a daily basis in a variety of ways. For instance, we’re always on hand to provide accompanied transportation, making it possible for older adults to experience the benefits of being in or near the water, combined with the pleasant companionship to make each day more fulfilling.