As we age, it’s important to stay active. Many seniors enjoy swimming because it is easy on the joints. Swimming also keeps your heart healthy, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation and boosts brain function. If you’re entering your golden years and are looking to try swimming or you have a pool that caters to seniors, it’s important to follow these six tips.
- Swim together.
Implement the buddy system when swimming. It’s always good to swim in pairs so that if something happens, you’re not alone. If you spend your days with a caregiver, encourage them to take a dip with you. Cramps, dizziness and inhaling water — these are all things that could happen while you swim. At least if you’re swimming with a friend, they can help you make your way to shore or out of the pool if anything goes wrong.
- Know your limits.
If you’re tired you should stop. You don’t have to push yourself to do 40 laps in one afternoon. You’re not training for the Olympics. If you just want to float around and relax that’s okay too. Know your limits and take it easy when you swim. If you find yourself out of breath or fatigued, get out of the water and rest.
- Stay (medically) alert.
If you are someone who wears a medical alert pendant, make sure you have a waterproof one you can wear in the pool. You can also give a spare pendant to the person you’re swimming with just in case.
- It’s okay to keep your shoes on.
Some seniors find wearing shoes in the pool helps them gain their footing. Some pool bottoms can be slippery or so rough in texture that it’s painful on the soles of the feet. You can get water shoes to help you gain some traction and avoid pain.
- Take your time getting in and out.
Take it slow when getting in and out of the pool. If you have the stamina and energy to do a swan dive off the high-dive then by all means do, but if you’re like the rest of us, you probably want to take your time when getting in and out of the water. You don’t want to slip or lose your footing and hurt yourself.
- Clean up before and after you swim.
Before you swim, make sure there’s nothing lying around that can cause you to trip. Floatation devices, pool noodles and kickboards are all great toys to keep around, but make sure you put them away when you’re done. You should also get someone to help you maintain your pool or hire a company to do it for you.
Even if you’re in your golden years, doesn’t mean you can’t go for a dip. Just remember to stay safe.