There is practically nothing better than a relaxing dip in the swimming pool to combat the summer heat, and the buoyancy of the water provides the added benefit of the perfect low impact environment to help the elderly remain active while relieving stress to the joints.
Be sure to seek the advice of a senior’s health care professional first before starting or modifying exercise levels, and then encourage a senior loved one to dive straight into these wonderful water-based exercises:
- Marching: Marching gets the entire body engaged, as the water supplies enough resistance to increase the senior’s heart rate. While maintaining proper posture and holding arms out to the side for balance, simply march at a rhythmic speed.
- Kicking. While holding onto a kickboard or even 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, swing 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 available), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, switching sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is an excellent way to boost muscle tone and strength along with working all the primary muscle groups. If possible, swim at a challenging enough pace to increase heart rate and strengthen the lungs.
It is also a good idea to take advantage of neighborhood pools and gyms that provide specialized water sessions for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only will your loved one boost physical activity, but he/she will have the opportunity to make new friends and enhance socialization as well.
Recent research also highlights the psychological and cognitive health advantages of simply being near the water. Referred to as “blue space,” the pleasing benefits of water – whether in a natural setting, or even a swimming 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 Compassionate Nursing Services, we’re committed to helping older adults optimize physical, emotional, and cognitive health on a daily basis in a variety of ways. For instance, we’re always readily available to provide accompanied transportation to enable senior loved ones to experience the benefits of being in or close to the water, combined with the cheerful companionship to help make each day more enjoyable.