Swim Your Way to Better Health this Winter

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - By: Alison Michael

swimming, senior man, pool

As you get older, exercising can get harder for a number of reasons. Your muscles and joints just aren’t what they used to be, you have more aches and pains, and you have less energy. Although it may be harder, exercise is more important now than ever. Finding a low-impact exercise regimen is simple—choose the pool!

Swimming is a great way to get the exercise you need while having fun. Experts say that all you need is 20 minutes in the pool, three days a week to reap the benefits. Swimming burns twice as many calories as walking, and is easier on your body. It’s a great way to stay in shape, boost your daily energy, and relieve or prevent age-related changes. But that’s not all.

Swimming is good for your muscles.

As you get older, your muscle mass begins to deteriorate, making it harder to do every day activities. Aqua fitness classes help you prevent or strengthen age-related muscle loss by working each and every muscle. Some classes focus on broader exercises, like working your arms and legs, while others focus on movements as specific as your fingers. Movements as minimal as wiggling your fingers underwater can increase function in your hand, making it easier to write, grab, or squeeze.

Swimming is good for your joints.

The majority of land exercises can be tough on your joints. Walking, running, or weights can be rough on your body. By moving these exercises to the water, buoyancy alleviates stress on your joints and allows you to focus on other areas of the body. Water aerobics has been proven to reduce pain and stiffness of your joints, reduce cartilage breakdown, and alleviate chronic pain due to arthritis or osteoporosis. You’ll have a larger range of movement in the water than you would have on land.

Swimming is good for your heart.

Swimming is a great cardio exercise. The quick movements, and water resistance require your heart to work a little harder while still going easy on the rest of your body. Cardio exercise aids in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure while also promoting healthy weight loss. The water also prevents you from overheating during your workout routine. Land exercises don’t always provide this luxury.

Swimming is good for your mind.

Joining an aqua class allows you to exercise with a group of like-minded people. The social atmosphere will boost your mood and reduce your stress levels—allowing you to be happier and calmer outside of the pool. In addition, your instructor is a great resource. They can help you find the exercise routine that will be the most beneficial for you.

Swimming enhances balance.

By working in water that’s waist deep, you’re building muscle in the lower half of your body. The water resistances strengthens the core muscles necessary for balance and can save you from a fall in the future. Water exercise can also help your posture, and in turn create an overall sense of balance and strength.

To begin your journey, visit a Capital District YMCA near you and learn about all of our aqua programs: www.cdymca.org

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