by Patti Lorenz, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Aquatics Trainer
Oftentimes, seniors are forced to cut back on their daily activities due to medical conditions, injuries, physical limitations or simply age. While there is no solid cure for inflammation related to diseases such as arthritis and stiff joints as we get older, there is a very effective, inexpensive way to relieve the pain and improve mobility – exercise! People suffering from joint pain should engage in physical activity regularly by practicing slow, controlled movements through each joint’s full range of motion, and there is no better place to work out without strain to joints and muscles than a swimming pool. The best part is, swimming can be enjoyed year-round with indoor pools.
Many seniors suffering from arthritis or joint pain are unable to tolerate land-based exercise due to gravity and increased force on the joints. When training in water, a person’s body weight is significantly reduced, making it the perfect environment to exercise joints and muscles without compression. Training in a pool also provides more room to move around and do a variety of activities, including walking, aerobics and stretches that will all help to reduce pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation.
In addition to helping with joint pain, water fitness has many other benefits, including:
:: Creates a strong social network, thus reducing feelings of depression and isolation
:: Improved body composition due to the reduction of excess body fat
:: Positive changes in body composition increase muscle mass, and metabolism
:: Improved cardiovascular respiratory health due to increased lung capacity, lowered blood pressure
:: Greater range of motion joints, resulting in improved flexibility
:: Helps stimulate digestion and elimination (aiding those with constipation), and reduces fluid retention
:: Improved balance. As we get older, our gait tends to shorten and shuffle, due to fear of falling. A pool workout can help you enlarge your steps, moving forward, backward and even diagonally, through the water. You can improve your balance by standing on one foot without having to deal with the effects of gravity.
The rewards of taking part in an aquatics training program are many. Consider incorporating water fitness into your exercise regimen today to increase the years in your life of feeling fabulous!