There’s practically nothing greater than a relaxing dip in the pool to beat the July heat, and the buoyancy of the water offers the additional benefit of the perfect low-impact environment to conquer senior mobility issues.
Make sure to consult with a senior’s doctor first prior to beginning or adjusting exercise levels, and then invite a senior loved one to dive right into these great water-based exercises:
- Marching: Marching will get the entire body involved, while the water provides enough resistance to increase a senior’s heart rate. While maintaining proper posture and holding arms off to the side for balance, simply march at a rhythmic rate.
- 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 grasping 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 obtainable), curl the arms up and back down again through the water, alternating sides.
- Swimming. Swimming is a fantastic means to improve muscle tone and strength along with working all of 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 make use of community pools and gyms that offer specialized water classes for seniors, such as water yoga. Not only can a senior increase physical activity, but she/he will have the opportunity to make new friends and increase socialization too.
Recent research also emphasizes the psychological and cognitive health benefits of merely being close to the water. Known as “blue space,” the relaxing effects of water – whether in a natural environment, or even a swimming pool or shower – have been demonstrated 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 Inspired Home Care, the respite care services Chicago families trust, we are focused on helping senior loved ones maximize physical, emotional, and cognitive health every single day in a variety of ways. For example, we’re always readily available to provide accompanied transportation to allow seniors to experience the many benefits of being in or near the water, combined with friendly companionship to help make every day more fulfilling.