Exercise is good for seniors but its downside is that it often leads to injuries. Here is why swimming may be the best option for seniors who want to exercise with lower risk of injury.
By Dawn Flemming
Exercise can be a hassle for many seniors. It is not uncommon for seniors to fall down and hurt themselves while exercising which can lead to serious injuries.
It seems that out of all exercises, swimming carries the lowest risk of injury. Obviously this is common sense, but there have been studies that have actually demonstrated the reality of this fact. Live Science summarizes the result of this study as follows:
Researchers in Australia looked at about 1,700 men ages 70 and older, and compared the types of exercise the men did with their likelihood of experiencing a fall over a four-year period. There were nearly 2,700 falls during the study.
Men in the study who swam were 33 percent less likely to fall compared with all men in the study. In contrast, the men who did other forms of exercise — including golfing, doing calisthenics, working out on treadmills or stationary bikes, or playing lawn bowling games (similar to Bocce ball) — were no less likely to fall, the researchers found.
While a person is walking to a pool, or getting out, he or she is always under the risk of slipping on water and falling. Yet once people are in the swimming pool - short of drowning - there are very little ways that seniors can injure themselves.
Swimming seems to have some other benefits that other types of exercises do not offer. The most prominent benefit seems to be that of posturing and standing balance. Live Science writes:
The researchers also found that the swimmers did better on a test of "postural sway," compared with the average of all men in the study. In this test of standing balance, a person is asked to stand as still as possible for 30 seconds, and researchers measure how much his or her body moves, at the waist level, from the center position.
There are plenty of swim classes across the United States and Canada that offer swim lessons for seniors. Not only are they great places for safe exercises, but they are also amazing social gatherings where seniors can make good friends. We know how good social relations and friendships can affect our happiness and help us with our chronic disease symptoms.
If you wish to undertake swimming as a new exercise, make sure to consult with your doctor first.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.