Water plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing. We all know that drinking water regularly is critical for keeping our bodies hydrated, but did you know water activities can also keep us in great shape?
Exercise is something we should all do regularly to stay fit, no matter our age. It’s a great way to maintain our health, and it keeps us happy. According to research, older adults who exercise on a regular basis are more optimistic than those who don’t exercise.
However, as we age, certain exercises can become too taxing on our bodies. Not to mention, falls and injuries can happen more frequently. So, how can you stay healthy and exercise regularly without straining yourself?
Hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy might be something you want to look into if you’re looking for a safe way to exercise. A lot of senior communities and healthy living centers have found hydrotherapy and aquatic exercise to be excellent ways to keep seniors healthy.
Exercising in water is great because it doesn’t put added stress or strain on the body. The use of water also reduces pain and joint stress. It’s also quite relaxing and helps manage chronic illnesses, minus the pain and muscle soreness.
You can do hydrotherapy or aquatic exercise anywhere as long as there is water. For seniors who prefer to soak at home, a walk-in tub provides excellent hydrotherapy benefits. Those with access to aquatic centers can do hydrotherapy and exercise in physical therapy tanks, swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs, saunas, and even regular baths.
Five Benefits of Water Activities and Hydrotherapy
In this article, we’re going to break down five benefits of water activities and hydrotherapy in retirement.
- Pain reduction
Swimming can be a relaxing activity that helps reduce pain and strain. You might have experienced this while being submerged in water. Being in the water gives the feeling of weightlessness and helps release any tension or aching.
The science behind this is that the body experiences constant resistance from the water, and the hydrostatic pressure gives the nerve endings signals. The nervous system responds by dulling the signals from the sensory neurons. This process decreases muscle pain and relieves any tension. Being in the water also relieves stress since it is believed that it can release endorphins and act as a natural pain reliever.
Being in an aquatic environment promotes hydrostatic pressure which poses various benefits. The pressure helps reduce swelling and can act as a compression device. This is excellent for anyone who might have edema or lymphedema.
If you have any injuries that have led to swelling, being submerged in water might be a good way to relieve the pain. The amount of pressure in water is far more tremendous than a standard compression stocking. So, an aquatic environment such as whirlpools or swimming pools can be utilized as a tool for compression.
- Better breathing capacity
The use of hydrostatic pressure in swimming forces us to release more air than we can exhale and trains our chest walls to be more efficient when we’re not in water. According to a study about respiratory muscle strength in 2005, aquatic exercisers significantly increased inspiratory muscle strength.
If you want to improve your breathing capacity, swimming is a great way to make your heart stronger and bigger. Swimming dramatically enhances your cardiovascular health and endurance overall. In addition to that, it also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risks of heart and lung diseases.
- Improve circulation
Hydrotherapy also helps increase circulation by applying pressure to the body, which causes venous return. This process returns deoxygenated blood cells to the heart and lungs to pick up more oxygen to help supply working muscles.
If you want an extra kick from hydrotherapy, taking a dip in a warm bath is a great way to raise your body temperature and help keep your blood flow circulating. Improved blood circulation can heal damaged tissues and relieve muscle injuries.
- Improves balance
Falls can be extremely dangerous and fatal for seniors. According to research, around one in four Americans fall each year. This statistic is concerning and might be one of the reasons why seniors are afraid of exercising in general.
Aquatic exercise is a safe and excellent way to stay fit and healthy. Other than preventing falls, the water also cushions impacts in case users do trip in the pool. Swimming also improves strength, balance, and flexibility. Aquatic therapists usually train their patients by using jets in the water to help maintain their balance.
Spending some extra time in the whirlpool is also another way you can relax your muscles and relieve any tension. The Aquatic Center at Willow Valley Communities has a whirlpool spa, a 90-degree therapy pool, and an indoor swimming pool for all your aquatic needs.
Water exercises and hydrotherapy provide significant benefits for seniors. They’re excellent for maintaining health and fitness minus the strain and muscle soreness. They can help reduce pain, improve balance and flexibility, improve circulation, improve breathing capacity, and even provides compression. So, if you’re looking for a safe way to stay fit, getting in the water might be your best bet!
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