Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

Why Seniors Should Swim for Exercise

By Amy Felman

Exercise is important to people of every age. It helps delay and prevent illness. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 28 percent of people aged 50 and above are not physically active. The recommended amount of exercise for older adults is 150 minutes per week, which sounds like a lot until you realize it’s only 2.5 hours. And, the latest exercise guidelines say that even short bursts of exercise count toward that overall time.

It can be hard to know what kind of exercise is right for your aging relative. You may worry about what is safe for them to do. Or, they may not like the idea of working out, so you need to find something they enjoy, or they won’t stick with it. One exercise that is widely considered both safe and enjoyable is swimming. It has many benefits, some of which are listed below.

Swimming May Reduce the Risk of Falls

A study conducted in Australia showed that people who swam for exercise were 33 percent less likely to fall. Researchers believe that one reason swimming is effective in lowering fall risk is that it helps to build core muscles that affect balance. In addition to preventing falls, swimming offers a full body workout because it involves the arms, legs, and torso.

Appropriate for All Fitness Levels

Even if your older family member hasn’t exercised in quite some time, swimming is considered a safe form of exercise. The senior can start slowly with the pace and amount of time they can handle, working toward more. Swimming is also low-impact, so it’s less likely to cause joint pain in people with arthritis.

Doesn’t Involve Sweating

Many people have an aversion to working up a sweat. They don’t like the feeling of being hot and sticky. The water keeps the body cool, so there’s no sweating involved.

Inexpensive and Widely Available

There’s a pool in nearly every community. Most of them are fairly inexpensive or offer discounted rates for senior citizens. They may even offer exercise classes specifically tailored for older adults. But, if swimming laps is more your loved one’s style, most pools have opportunities for that, too.

If your aging relative is interested in swimming for exercise, a home care provider can help them to start. Home care providers can assist with finding them a place to go swimming by searching the Internet or calling local pools to find out what programs they offer and their hours. Home care providers can even drive the older adult to the pool and help them get in and out safely.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring homecare in Cranberry Township, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.