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The Benefit of Aquatic Fitness for Healthy Aging

Jun 7, 2019

We all know that getting exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. But if you have joint pain or other mobility issues, traditional exercise can be painful or ineffective. However, aquatic exercise has long been a great form of exercise for all individuals, whether they want to increase strength, build muscle or recover from an injury. It’s also considered the ideal form of exercise for aging adults, because it’s easy, comfortable and functional.

“Exercising in water allows seniors to get the results they need in a low-impact, low-weight-bearing way,” says Lynda Marino, Marketing Director at Canterbury Woods. “Our residents have less stress on their joints, but they’re continually strengthening because the water provides a constant resistance to work against. We’ve found that our residents who experience joint discomfort and pain can exercise successfully and feel better through the use of aquatic therapy.”

When seniors are exercising in a pool, their body weight can be reduced up to 90 percent. In fact, if someone is submerged in water up to the neck, they experience only about 15 pounds of compressive force on their body. This helps reduce pressure on joints and allows seniors to move with more mobility and less pain.

“Aquatic fitness and therapy are an integral part of health and wellness here at Canterbury Woods Williamsville,” says Lynda. “Our state-of-the-art fitness center features a heated pool and spa and provides numerous classes to help you improve your strength, cardiovascular health, flexibility and balance. All while having fun at the same time. The health and wellness of our residents is of utmost importance, and we strive to make it easy and enjoyable to attain a high quality of life.”

The Benefits of Aquatic Fitness for Seniors

It helps reduce the risk of falls.
Falling is one of the biggest risks and causes of injury (and complications) for seniors age 65 and older. Studies show that 33% of 65-year-old adults will fall annually, with the risk of falling rising as age increases. Proper exercise is an effective way to lower a senior’s risk of falling by focusing on balance, flexibility and mobility. Because water is continually applying pressure on the body as it moves through, seniors can easily and effectively build muscles that will help them manage the micro-movements needed to correct when balance is thrown off. There’s also a much lower risk of falling and hurting themselves if seniors lose their balance while exercising in water.

It allows those with osteoporosis to exercise safely.
Building bone density can be accomplished through regular exercise, but for those with osteoporosis, exercise can be risky. Aquatic exercise can help eliminate this catch-22 by providing opportunities for these individuals to exercise without the risk of breaking bones. Targeted exercises that focus on posture, strength-building, gait and starting and stopping mobility can boost confidence while improving muscle tone.

It helps seniors lose weight.
It’s harder for seniors to lose weight than younger individuals. Pair that with health and mobility issues, and you’ll discover that many land-based forms of exercise really aren’t feasible. However, exercising in water can burn up to 3.5 times that of a similar land-based activity. This results in increased metabolism, greater muscle mass, increased strength and improved stamina, all which can give senior metabolisms a much-needed boost.

It reduces the incidence of illness or critical care.
Physical activity has been proven to reduce heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cholesterol as well as reducing the risk of developing certain forms of cancer. It improves our immune systems, boosts our white blood cell count and many other benefits. By using aquatic exercise, seniors are able to remain stronger, more independent, healthy and active throughout their lives, no matter how old they may be.

It provides hydrostatic pressure.
Hydrostatic pressure, which is the pressure a fluid exerts when surrounding an object, has been shown to reduce joint inflammation, improves joint position and helps boost circulation. This allows participants to relax and experience less discomfort, especially when the water is warm (which is generally the case during aquatic fitness). This, in turn, stimulates blood flow, which can help speed healing.

It boosts moods.
Seniors who haven’t been able to exercise often feel like they’ve gained back control when they participate in aquatic fitness. Seeing results such as increased flexibility, greater stamina and higher energy levels provide a “positive feedback loop” that encourages participants to continue along a beneficial path. Exercise also naturally boosts the production of serotonin and endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. A better emotional state can lessen the risk of depression and overall improve quality of life.

It’s just plain fun.
What’s the main reason why we may quit an exercise program? Because it hurts, it’s too much work or it’s simply not enjoyable to do. And no one likes to do something that’s not enjoyable. However, because aquatic fitness eliminates a lot of complaints about exercise and often is performed in groups, it can be a fun social activity that helps you work up a sweat without a lot of pain. If a senior is looking forward to going to class, they’ll work harder, miss fewer classes and generally have better health practices.

An Essential Part of Health and Wellness

Lynda says that the aquatic center at Canterbury Woods Williamsville has greatly helped improve the lives of their residents, both directly and indirectly. “Our activities team does a great job of providing engaging and fun classes in the pool throughout the day so that all of our residents can find a form of exercise that speaks to them. By improving balance and strength through exercise, our residents are able to maintain their ability to perform the daily tasks of living longer, meaning they can continue to live independently as they age. This, in turn, boosts moods and mental outlooks, helping improve their quality of life overall.”

For more information about the aquatic fitness opportunities available at Canterbury Woods Williamsville, please contact us at (716) 427-6928.

Find Your Fulfillment

Canterbury Woods Williamsville is a Continuing Care Retirement Community like you’ve never seen. Canterbury Woods Williamsville is not only close the perfect location for rest and relaxation, thanks to 62 tranquil acres, but there’s also easy access to Buffalo’s urban location. Offering the highest quality lifestyle and security, you’ll be part of a welcoming community consisting of both friends and neighbors while experiencing gracious living, first-class health care and the freedom to create the lifestyle you desire.

Continuum of Care

As a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Canterbury Woods Communities provide a comfortable environment and first-rate services to support every level of need. Assisted living apartments allow Williamsville residents to benefit from additional support while maintaining their independent lifestyle. If skilled nursing, rehabilitation or memory care is ever needed, residents can experience the support they require. They can also enjoy all this and more at our sister community in Buffalo. 

Contact us today to discover more about Canterbury Woods Williamsville! (716) 427-6928

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