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The Benefits of Swimming for Older Adults

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

A senior man in a swim cap and goggles at a pool.

Swimming, whether competitively or for leisure, has a host of incredible benefits for people of all ages. As a low-impact sport, swimming can help older adults maintain and improve their overall health, mobility, strength and well-being. There are three primary benefits that swimming offers older adults who decide to swim a few laps in the pool which are: physical, mental and social.

Physical Benefits

Swimming is a great way for seniors to stay active and maintain their overall health while taking part in a low-impact sport. Partaking in low-impact sports can help older adults build muscle while also preserving the health of their joints. Plus, swimming is beneficial to older adults due to the low risk of injury associated with this activity. It is a great sport that can help improve flexibility and range of motion, making it easier for older adults to complete everyday activities that involve bending and reaching.

Building muscle is another physical benefit of swimming. While swimming laps in a pool or taking a dip in a lake, the resistance of the water helps build muscle without causing too much strain. This is especially important for older adults who may be dealing with muscle weakness or loss due to aging or illness.

In addition, swimming can help seniors improve balance and coordination. As we age, it is normal to gradually develop a loss in balance which makes older adults more prone to falls and injury.

Mental Benefits

Swimming isn’t only beneficial for the body; it also benefits the mind. Becoming active in any way, which includes swimming, can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be particularly helpful for seniors who may be dealing with the stressful thoughts around aging or chronic illness. The rhythmic and repetitive movement of swimming can be meditative and calming for older adults which can help to clear the mind and promote relaxation.

Swimming may also improve the cognitive function of older adults. There are studies that have found that exercise, including swimming, can improve memory, attention span, and overall cognitive function. Plus, swimming is a great option for seniors who may be dealing with loneliness or social isolation because it can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Social Benefits

If older adults are looking to connect with others and become more social there is no better place than a senior community center. Community centers (and gyms) offer senior swim programs, which can provide opportunities for older adults to meet new people that enjoy the same hobby as them. Joining senior swim groups can also provide older adults with the motivation and accountability necessary to keep on with their physical activity and stick to their exercise routine.

If you’re looking to adopt a healthy work-out routine that is easy on the body but brings with it all the benefits that running and weighted work-outs have to offer, then swimming might be just what you need. This sport is an excellent way for older adults to support physical, mental and social health which is necessary for healthy aging. If you are interested in learning more about swimming at your local community centers, check out our senior center resource page to locate senior centers that offer swimming groups or even just a lane to rent. Get your swim on this summer and reap those benefits!


If you want to learn more about a healthy senior lifestyle: click here! Or, discover healthy recipes: here!

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