Courtesy of the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo
Exercise provides many benefits for people of all ages, including older adults. Swimming is especially beneficial for seniors. While many enjoy the water for fun rather than fitness, aquatic exercise is ideal for seniors looking to improve their overall health.
“Because water provides buoyancy while swimming, there is little risk of injury and minimal strain on the body. It engages all the muscle groups, and is a great way to strengthen the heart muscle and improve lung function and endurance. Because swimming lowers blood pressure and improves circulation, it is a great way to get the heart pumping,” says Betsy Hare, a Certified Professional Trainer at the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo (JCC Buffalo).
“A gentle 30-minute swim can burn up to 200 calories, which is more than walking. A faster swim can burn calories more quickly than running or cycling. Since water supports 90% of the body’s weight, swimming puts less stress on muscles and joints than other types of exercise. Individuals with mobility issues or arthritis often find swimming helps relieve discomfort and improves range of motion,” says Hare.
According to Hare, even seniors who don’t know how to swim can still reap the benefits of water exercise. A land and water fitness instructor and personal trainer, her certifications include Water in Motion, ATRI- Aquatic Training and Rehab, Hydrofit, the Arthritis Foundation, AFAA, Yogafit, SilverSneakers, and more. She is also a Rock Steady Boxing coach for Parkinson’s and a lifestyle coach for the diabetes prevention program.
Adult aquatics classes vary in intensity from arthritis range of motion and flexibility classes, to traditional upbeat water aerobics or calorie-crushing interval classes. See www.jccbuffalo.org to learn more.