Speed walking on concrete pavement with 70-year-old knees can be difficult. Speed walking in a warm-water pool – with less stress on the knees and joints, but more muscle-building resistance – can be delightful, according to seniors who enjoy the innumerable benefits of water workouts.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Although exercise is beneficial – whether done on land or water – it’s very possible that water activity helps (seniors) because it takes weight off the muscles and joints. So it’s able to improve arthritis and other conditions that cannot be helped with land exercise.”
“Increasingly, researchers are finding that because of water’s buoyancy, resistance, and temperature, aquatic workouts may be better than similar land-based activities in relieving the pain of age-related conditions, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia; in boosting range of motion, balance and everyday functioning; and in improving heart health and possibly even brain function,” reports the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
“If you are over 50, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderately intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, four times a week, plus resistance strength training, and balance and flexibility training. A swimming pool provides the one place where you can do all of that at the same time, without the need for a lot of machines – at your own pace and more comfortably.”
AARP explains how water workouts help: “Water’s hydrostatic pressure pushes against your chest and body, lowering the heart rate and helping blood circulate more efficiently. Its resistance makes any movement harder than on land, resulting in faster development of muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility. It’s buoyancy makes your body weight in waist-deep water 50 percent lighter than on land, reducing joint impact for less pain and better balance.”