There’s nothing better than a refreshing dip in the pool to combat the July heat, and with the buoyancy of the water, it gives the additional benefit of the ideal low impact environment to help senior loved ones remain active while remedying stress to their joints.
Make sure to check with an older adult’s health care provider first prior to beginning or modifying exercise levels, and then invite a senior loved one to dive into these great water-based low impact exercises for seniors:
- Marching: Marching will get the entire body engaged, as the water supplies sufficient resistance to elevate the 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, extend the legs straight out behind and kick in a fluttering manner.
- Swinging. While holding onto the edge of the pool with one arm for balance, move one leg forward for a count of five, and then backward for a count of five. Repeat with both legs 12 times.
- Curling. Holding water weights (or bottles of water, if weights are not obtainable), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, alternating sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is an excellent option to boost muscle tone and strength while working all the major muscle groups. When possible, swim at a challenging enough pace to raise heart rate and strengthen the lungs.
It’s also a great idea to make use of neighborhood pools and gyms that offer specialized water classes for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only will a senior loved one boost physical activity, but she/he will have the chance to make new friends and increase socialization as well.
Recent research also highlights the psychological and cognitive health advantages of merely being close to the water. Described as “blue space,” the relaxing effects of water – in a natural setting, as well as a swimming pool or shower – have been proven 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.
At Grace Home Care, our top-rated caregivers in Topeka are committed to helping seniors enhance physical, emotional, and cognitive health on a daily basis in a variety of ways. For example, we’re always on hand to provide accompanied transportation to allow seniors to experience the benefits of being in or near the water, combined with the cheerful companionship to make every day more fulfilling.