A recent health study has proved that exercise really is beneficial in older age and can actually add years to someone’s life.
Each decade of ageing has its own unique challenges, but with a bit of willpower an exercise plan can help us as we age to reap great health rewards. Swimming has been highlighted as amongst the very best forms of exercise because it is a great all-round exercise which is low-impact on the joints. This means that as we age we can still get a decent effective workout without putting unnecessary stressses and strains on our ‘creaky bits’!
Those pesky muscle and joint aches and pains start bubbling up in our 50’s, so swimming or aquaerobics are great for cardiovascular exercise that’s gentle on the creaky joints but still gets the heart rate pumped up. As well as helping to gently strengthen the joints and muscles, this also helps to combat many of the most worrying medical concerns as we age, including heart disease.
In our 60s, the bones become much weaker and both men and women are more prone to osteoporosis. Arthritis and fibromyalgia can also start to be a problem for many people at this age. The support of the water means that, again, swimming and aquaerobics are perfect forms of exercise to help combat these conditions, whilst also providing a good cardio workout.
In our 70s and beyond the biggest health concern is dementia – primarily Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, as these are the 2 most common forms. The only thing proven to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s is exercise. Likewise, the major risk factors for vascular dementia – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – can be helped greatly with exercise, and so help prevent vascular dementia from developing.
So swimming, and similarly aquaerobics, is a great way to improve health and help prevent the onset of illness as we age. And it’s not purely the physical exercise that does us so much good – the social aspect has also be shown to be a real boost. The benefits of taking to the pool can’t be overstated!
Happy Swimming – Sarah Bohn