Many senior citizens avoid exercise due to a number of physical limitations or medical conditions. Aquatic therapy is a very viable option since it works nearly every muscle group in the body, and since it’s a low-impact exercise, it’s easy on bones and joints. This is especially valuable for senior citizens who otherwise may avoid exercise due to weaker muscles, joint pain or osteoporosis.
Aquatic therapy has several benefits for seniors who might not be up for swimming laps in their local pool. Here are just a few of them. Always consult with your doctor or our knowledgeable staff at Advanced Rehabilitation before making any changes to your lifestyle.
It’s a Low-Impact Exercise:
As mentioned above, aquatic therapy is a low-impact exercise that is easier on aching joints and bones. This makes it an ideal activity for seniors who may be suffering from arthritis or any other conditions that may cause joint pain.
Many senior citizens are vulnerable to slip-and-fall injuries either due to muscle weakness, bone loss or other conditions. One in three 65 year-olds will fall annually. This statistic rises with age. By 80, one half of all seniors will experience a fall. This is a serious concern and a costly occurrence for all seniors to be aware of. This makes doing something as simple as taking a walk a risky proposition, but gentle movements in shallow water are much easier and safer. This allows seniors to perform exercises that will strengthen their muscles and improve their balance in a virtually risk-free environment.
It Provides Resistance:
Physical therapy exercises will almost always be beneficial no matter where they are performed, but they become much more effective when some gentle resistance is applied. Water can provide that resistance, which is why aquatic therapy has proven to be so useful for so many people.
It Can Improve Flexibility:
Because aquatic therapy is a low-impact exercise, it is often used to improve a patient’s flexibility. This is especially true with therapy performed in warmer water. The heat from the water eases much of the pain felt in the joints and muscles, making once-difficult movements that much easier.
As always, the most important part of any physical therapy or exercise regimen is that people stay active. That can be done with walking, running, weight training or any other kind of activity. Since many of these exercises are difficult for many seniors, aquatic therapy exercises are often the perfect solution for staying active well into old age.