There is nothing greater than a refreshing dip in the pool to combat the summer heat, and along with the buoyancy of the water, it provides the additional advantage of the perfect low impact environment to help senior loved ones remain active while alleviating stress to joints.
Make certain to speak with a senior’s health care professional first before beginning or modifying physical exercise levels, and then invite a senior loved one to dive into these terrific water-based low impact workouts for older adults:
- Marching: Marching gets the entire body engaged, while the water provides a sufficient amount of resistance to raise a senior’s heart rate. While maintaining good posture and holding arms off to the side for balance, simply march at a rhythmic rate.
- Kicking. While holding onto a kickboard or the side of the pool, reach the legs straight out behind and kick in a fluttering manner.
- Swinging. While grasping onto the side of the pool with one arm for stability, move 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 readily available), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, alternating sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is a wonderful solution to boost muscle tone and strength along with working all the primary muscle groups. If possible, swim at a challenging enough pace to boost heart rate and strengthen the lungs.
It is also a good idea to take advantage of community pools and gyms that offer specialized water sessions for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only will a senior loved one boost physical activity, but he/she will have the opportunity to make new friends and enhance socialization as well.
Recent studies also emphasize the psychological and cognitive health advantages of simply being near the water. Described as “blue space,” the relaxing benefits of water – whether in a natural environment, or 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.
At At-Home Care Company, our senior helpers in Urbandale, Iowa and the surrounding areas are dedicated to helping older adults optimize physical, emotional, and cognitive health each and every day in many ways. As an example, we are always on hand to provide accompanied transportation to help senior loved ones to experience the many benefits of being in or close to the water, combined with friendly companionship to make each and every day more pleasant.