June 20, 2017

Seniors Swim Their Way To Health

High blood pressure, bad balance, arthritis — these are common problems for seniors. Still, all the experts say you should get out there and exercise. If traditional exercise just hurts, why not try swimming? Swimming is the ideal exercise for…

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High blood pressure, bad balance, arthritis — these are common problems for seniors.

Still, all the experts say you should get out there and exercise.

If traditional exercise just hurts, why not try swimming?

Swimming is the ideal exercise for people with joint and muscle pain. The buoyant water takes the pain out of much exercise. Even walking in the water is good exercise and much less painful than pounding the pavement.

It improves balance. Joel Stager, director of the Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, told Senior Planet that older swimmers have much better balance than their non-swimming contemporaries.

Not only that, but their muscle mass is better maintained and they have fewer cardiovascular risk factors than non-swimmers.

In fact, according to Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, swimming is very effective at lowering blood pressure.

If you are ready to start your swimming program, start small. Some public pools have pool walking classes. Or you might just start by swimming as far as you can, then resting, then starting again. Your stamina will build up over time.

When it does, you’ll have the meditative experience of immersion in a blue world.

These days you can even customize that world with waterproof music headphones and fitness bracelets to count your movements.

Hair tip for swimmers

According to New York City journalist Stacy Horn, a committed swimmer, you can minimize the effects of chlorine on your hair this way. Before swimming, wet your hair, cover it with conditioner and wear a bathing cap.

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