HEALTHY LIVING: Getting in the swim of things!

Published 12:21 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

Have you considered Aquatics Fitness?  Do you have a touch of the “arthritis”?  Maybe you have a bad knee?  Recovering from knee, hip, or back surgery?  Ask your doctor about the benefits of water exercise.  We are talking year around, not just in the summer.  Check around the Golden Triangle for facilities with indoor, heated pools.  The Y, here in Port Arthur, has a 25 meter pool that is kept between 84-86 degrees.

Temperature is quite important.  For lap swimmers, because of increased cardio output, they enjoy a cooler pool temp.  However, for older adults, those with heart problems, cooler temps put a strain on the heart.  The warm water soothes the joints of arthritis patients and those in recovery from the above mentioned procedures. The gentle resistance of the water helps strengthen joints and muscles without putting a strain on them.  Over a period of time, people see things like a decrease in pain, improved daily function, and improved perceived quality of life.

If you are not a swimmer or don’t feel comfortable in deeper water, simply walking back and forth across the pool at a depth of 3 ½ to 4 feet of water, will have significant benefits.  There are a variety of fitness classes available, such as those recommended by the American Arthritis Association, Aqua Jog, and Water Aerobics.  These classes can be done at your own pace and fitness level.

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Benefits include, in addition to increasing metabolism, physical activity in general improves, cardiovascular health, increases in strength, and the slowing down of age-related loss of muscle mass. 

There are psychological and social benefits as well. Like any regular exercise, pool workouts are great stress relievers. People feel better about themselves, are more engaged in community activities, and they tend to not lose their independence because they’re physically fit.

Research found that older individuals who participated in regular water exercise over 12 weeks experienced more strength, flexibility, and agility, and better total cholesterol levels. 

So what are you waiting for?  Come on in, the water’s fine!

Stay healthy, my friends!