Good Eating habits, socializing, and exercising are three of the best ways to stay healthy in your body and mind throughout your life. But as we become seniors, it will become challenging and hard to perform physical activities and keep fit.
One of the biggest threats for seniors when they exercise is falling. According to the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, about one elderly out of three experiences a loss of balance and falls at least once every year in the United States. However, there is an alternative and easier exercise named aquatic exercises. Aquatic therapy, aerobics, and other water-based exercise programs provide all the advantages of land-based exercises for seniors. There is one exception though, aquatic therapy reduces the stress on joints and eases the pain, allowing seniors to exercise safely.
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There are both physical and psychological benefits when seniors start doing aquatic therapy and aerobics for seniors. Here you can see a list of some of these benefits:
Aquatic therapy releases endorphins, also known as “feel good” hormones. The release of endorphins improves mood and results in the reduction of anxiety. In addition, being in the water helps you relax and reduce stress even more. There are social benefits to the therapy as well because aquatic therapy is usually done in a social environment so that it can increase confidence.
With its buoyancy, water supports the body’s weight and counteracts gravity to make landing easier for exercisers. Therefore, Water’s natural resistance and buoyancy reduce the stress on joints. Many seniors who suffer chronic joint and muscle conditions like Arthritis prefer exercising in the water because it allows them to move that they are not able to do on land.
Aquatic therapy provides protection when it comes to delicate joints, tendons, and ligaments. Therefore, aquatic therapy decreases the impact on the knees, hips, back, and ankles resulting in reducing the risk of injuries and damage like muscle soreness, stress fractures, and even broken bones.
Those who suffer from chronic joint or tissue conditions can also benefit from exercising in heated pools.
Aquatic therapy is an intense form of exercise despite being gentle. It improves cardiovascular health by burning fat through an increase in heart rate. In addition, seniors who do aquatic therapy learn to use oxygen more efficiently, which causes a risk reduction of heart attacks, strokes, and heart diseases.
As we mentioned, falling is a serious issue for seniors that has disastrous outcomes. The CDC reported that 20 percent of falls cause injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries. Aquatic therapy in pools that contain water at least waist high helps build strength as seniors try to keep their balance while they struggle with water movements. Water’s movements provide natural resistance, so moving through water builds muscle endurance and strength, improving balance.
When immersed in water, fluid molecules apply hydrostatic pressure on the body. This hydrostatic pressure helps decrease swelling in pain, increase range of motion, and improve circulation. The hydrostatic pressure interestingly exists even when seniors are keeping still without any movements.
As we go through life, working out our heart muscles and improving blood circulation become essential. Aquatic therapy and water aerobics can increase the heart rate. In addition, water-based exercises provide resistance training by applying hydrostatic pressure to the body through water. This hydrostatic pressure brings additional benefits for balance, coordination, and mobility. If seniors are looking for a way to strengthen their heart muscles, aquatic therapy and water aerobics are great options.
A reduction in coordination is a severe natural side effect of aging. Aquatic therapy and water aerobics can counteract this. In addition, water therapy allows seniors to improve coordination and control, and range of movement in a safer and more supportive environment like a pool. Therefore, seniors who have difficulty with coordination can improve their balance, strength, and physical control.
Lack of balance and bone fragility result in falling, bringing a lot of pain and problems to the seniors. For many seniors, falling is a reason to quit exercising. However, the supportive quality of water helps seniors maintain their balance in the water.
Obesity and being overweight invite a lot of different diseases and problems. Seniors, due to their lack of adequate movement, are at higher risk of developing chronic disease. Therefore, they need to stay active as part of their weight-control efforts. Aquatic therapy and water aerobics are able to increase metabolism and have significant benefits for people who are dealing with overweight or obesity. Many activities and sports burn more fat when they are done in water rather than on land because water has more resistance in comparison to air. For example, walking in water and underwater treadmills will offer more weight loss and burn more calories than regular walking and treadmills.
Aqua therapy provides seniors with a safer way to exercise and be able to build muscle mass or slow down the loss of muscle mass that occurs as they age.
Lifting weights in the water is an excellent example of this fact. Weight lifting in the water enhances strength in areas like the quadriceps by 27% and the hamstrings by 40%.
Seniors who are in the recovery phase of an injury or in rehabilitation of an operation can do aquatic therapy or water therapy. Aquatic activities, such as walking, arm reaches, leg raises, and swimming, provide the support of water to keep your joints and muscles in good shape without the heavy impacts and strains of land-based exercise. In addition, the buoyant support of water makes many moves and activities painless and refreshing, which is a perfect factor for recovery processes.
Socialization has many positive health and mental impacts. Aquatic therapy can be done in group classes to provide socialization benefits. Seniors can socialize, make new friends, and enjoy exercising with others in group classes. In addition, group classes can be a good motivator for seniors to maintain their exercise routine. Therefore, water aerobics is a great place to go for seniors if they enjoy working out and meeting others as well as being able to exercise.
Water or aqua therapy is not the only water-based exercise for seniors. There are other forms of exercises, such as water yoga, ai chi, and even water pilates.
Water-based yoga exercises are adjusted for the water and will help seniors feel less achy and more coordinated with water yoga. Water yoga has breathing and stretching exercises to improve:
Ai chi is similar to Tai chi. Seniors participate by being shoulder-deep in water to improve their balance, strengthen their bodies, and relax.
Water pilates is also done in shoulder-deep water, just like Ai chi. When performing water pilates, Seniors use pool noodles, rings, foam rollers, and water weights, the pool wall, and floor to build up strength and flexibility.
Aquatic therapy is an excellent alternative for seniors who have difficulties exercising on land. Health & Care Professional Network has provided Aquatic Therapy in Las Vegas for over 15 years.
Give us a call at (702) 871-9917 for more information.
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