In today’s society, where staying in shape and enhancing one’s overall wellness and well-being is encouraged more than ever, water aerobics has captured much attention from older adults seeking a safer alternative to accomplish their fitness goals.
What makes water aerobics an excellent choice for seniors? Water aerobics are versatile and flexible, allowing seniors to strengthen their muscles and bones at a much lower intensity. But there’s more than meets the eye. Let’s dive into the 6 unexpected benefits of water aerobics for seniors and how it can transform seniors’ quality of life and general health.
Take a Dive Into 6 Benefits of Water Aerobics for Seniors That Might Surprise You
What Are Water Aerobics?
Water aerobics, also known as aqua fitness or aqua aerobics, is a form of aerobic exercise performed in water (i.e., swimming pools), most preferably in shallow, waist-deep bodies of water rather than deep-level ones.
Despite taking place in swimming pools, water aerobics rarely includes swimming. It incorporates a variety of exercises similar to those found in standard aerobic classes but at a lower intensity than strenuous movements aiming to increase heart rate and tone muscles on land.
Anyone can practice water aerobics, and the sport is highly recommended for people experiencing issues with their ligaments, tendons, and joints.
What Makes Water Aerobics Different from Other Senior Exercises?
One major factor that makes aquatic aqua fitness particularly deliberating for seniors is that it manipulates the hydrostatic pressure of the water.
With water resistance, water aerobics is challenging enough for seniors with limited mobility to strengthen their muscles and joints while buoyant enough to keep the risk of injury and blunt force to a minimum. This water-based exercise is also beneficial for obese or overweight seniors.
When floating in the water, the forces on foot are significantly reduced by up to 90%, thereby unloading the pressure on joints and allowing greater flexibility while attending different postures of water aerobics.
6 Surprising Benefits of Water Aerobics for Seniors
Aquatic exercises are one of many safe, versatile ways to help seniors stay active and healthy while having fun.
Let’s dive into some more surprising benefits of water aerobics for seniors.
Reduces Arthritis & Joint Discomfort
Strained joints and stiffness are undesirable parts of growing old due to worn-out cartilage and decreased synovial fluids. But creaking knees and hips aren’t necessarily associated with aging but rather a tell-tale sign of arthritis, a common age-related condition diagnosed in many seniors, especially those who stay put for extended periods or have a sedentary lifestyle.
While seniors with arthritis are encouraged to get up and move to reduce soreness, engaging in physical activity is not always easy when the condition worsens. That’s why water aerobics is a perfect alternative for seniors, as it is far less painful than land-based exercises. With less stress on joints, water aerobics reduces stiffness and alleviates symptoms of arthritis altogether, allowing seniors to exercise their bodies with greater ease and less pain.
Helps with Osteoporosis
We all know exercise is crucial for maintaining bone density and lowering the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related ailments. However, due to osteoporosis diagnosis, physical activities seem too demanding for seniors at higher risk of breaking their bones.
According to a 2008 study comparing the effectiveness of water and land exercises for women with osteoporosis, they discovered that both provided equal impacts in strengthening bone density and improving symptoms of osteoporosis. In a different study published in the same year, researchers found positive improvements in postmenopausal women’s bone mineral density (BMD) after practicing 3 hours of water aerobics for seven months.
Although the effects of water-based exercise are nowhere as strong as weight-bearing activities, it is still worth giving it a go if your parents constantly fear fractures or just simply dislike brisk walking.
Lowers the Risk of Falls
As we grow older, the ability to stay balanced on our feet can decline over time, placing older adults at higher risks of falls and increased difficulties in performing everyday tasks.
It’s reported that falling is a huge threat among aging communities aged 60 and up, explaining why most seniors grow hesitant or even avoidant to the idea of exercising. Falling contributes to long-healing injuries, aggravates pre-existing health conditions, and leads to disabilities. A comprehensive water aerobics program is a great way to restore seniors to a healthy and active lifestyle. By performing water aerobics, seniors have better control over their posture and resolve their balance issues in a safe, low-gravity environment with full-body support from the buoyancy of water.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Heart diseases are a prevalent life-threatening condition that not many talk enough about. However, it is a leading cause of death for different age groups across the United States, with death tolls coming to around 700,000 in 2021 and one of every five deaths is directly connected to heart implications.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), regular participation in resistance training and aerobics exercises is of utmost importance for a robust cardiovascular system and longevity. This has led to a pervasive myth that cardio workouts are the only way to increase heart rate and get the blood pumping. The truth is that any form of exercise, whether low or high-intensity, can deliver the same desired results when supporting heart health.
Many health experts insist that gentle water aerobics, a well-balanced blend of land aerobics and strength training exercises, can offer many healthful benefits for older adults’ cardiovascular systems and help them avoid heart conditions that come with aging.
Water-based aerobics are a fantastic way for seniors to unwind stress and relieve depressive symptoms besides other stress reliefs. Much like other exercises, exercising in water also stimulates the release of endorphins, a feel-good hormone that can outnumber the stress hormone cortisol, alleviating stress and fostering more pleasure. In a way, submerging in warm water also helps to loosen up tense muscles and joints. Combined with reduced stress levels, seniors can expect to overcome insomnia and put themselves to sleep more quickly.
Expands Social Connections
Water aerobics is not only healthy but also enjoyable, too! The last benefit of water aerobics for seniors is social interaction. As water aerobics is often done in groups, it provides a much-needed outlet for seniors to join the crowds, meet new people, and expand their social network while motivating each other to reach their fitness goals. Social interaction is particularly essential for seniors because it boosts their mental health by giving them more chances to rediscover happiness, boost their confidence, find their sense of belonging, and combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.
If you have questions about the benefits of water aerobics for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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