For seniors, retirement is a time for two things — relaxation from a life of hard work and physical stimulation to maintain health and independent mobility. For those that would love an active retirement in a warm climate, Sarasota, Florida proves to be the perfect fit.
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As a coastal city with thriving luxurious retirement communities, Sarasota offers every bit of relaxation you need. These luxurious communities also engage in much-needed social and physical stimulation activities, swimming proving to be one of the most popular.
Here are six reasons why seniors in Sarasota should look to swimming as their preferred activity to maintain health and fitness.
1. Lower Impact Exercise Than Other Activities
Compared to physical activities like jogging and weight training, swimming has a lot less impact on the limbs and joints. As Sarah Ellison explains in a Harvard-affiliated study, the buoyancy of the water helps seniors easily maintain a safe range of motion at the knees, spine, and hips. This is because takes the weight and stress off these joints, relieving inflammatory pain and helping to manage symptoms of arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia, among others.
2. Strengthen Muscles
According to a 2019 study, swimming proves to be the best activity for not just regaining lost muscle mass but also maintaining proper muscle function. It also goes on to identify that pushing water to the side, supported by the buoyancy of the water, serves as good resistance training on the larger muscle groups across the body. If you want even more resistance training, consider adding swim gear like paddles and fins.
3. Reduce The Risk of Injury
One of the biggest benefits of swimming for older adults is the improved strength in the ab, back, and hip muscles which play a key role in maintaining balance and coordination. In fact, a 2020 study from GMC Geriatrics compared aquatic exercises to on-land physical and non-physical exercises over 12 weeks. The study showed that aquatic exercises had substantial positive effects on balance and fall risk just after six weeks, with on-land physical and non-physical exercises showing similarly limited results even after 12 weeks.
The study also showed us that swimming improves cognition in older adults, helping them to make better decisions when carrying out risky activities like crossing the road, for example.
4. Boosts Mood and Lowers Stress
Swimming also has significant positive effects on mood and anxiety. Experts in neuroscience pioneered a study on the effects of aquatic exercise on mood and anxiety symptoms — a study that included 18 trials on aquatic exercise, swimming, and aquatic aerobics.
The study didn't just reveal that these exercises showed a 77% to 95% improvement across participants, but also showed which exercises were best effective. The prize went to low-intensity swimming exercises, a result that tells us just how important swimming can be to the cardiovascular well-being of the elderly.
5. Increased Brain Function
Now, when it comes to mental benefits, swimming doesn't stop at improving the ability to perceive hazards in older adults. It also improves short-term and long-term memory, helping to fight against the effects of neuropsychiatric conditions that accompany aging.
A Physiological Reports journal showed that these short and long-term effects even remain seven days after the exercise. Through an increase in brain cells and blood vessels, exercises like swimming have also been seen to improve reaction time and learning capabilities.
6. Opportunity to Socialize With Other Residents
Swimming is often done in groups and can serve as a common interest to bond over. It also provides a relaxed and fun atmosphere which serves as the perfect sport for senior citizens to reap tremendous social benefits through association with both the young and old.
With the various benefits of swimming for seniors in Sarasota, Florida, joining a retirement community with access to high-quality swimming pools is a great start to improving overall health -- both physical and mental -- and bettering your social life.