As we get older, problems with weaker joints and less effective balance are common. Many older adults find that going about their daily routines can often result in a fall, and even an injury. So when it comes to getting a daily dose of exercise, those over a certain age find maintaining physical activity a challenge.
However, a new study suggests that the best form of exercise to lower older adults' risk of falls is swimming.
Researchers in Australia looked at around 1,700 men ages 70 and older, and compared the types of exercise they did with their likelihood of experiencing a fall over a four-year period. There were nearly 2,700 falls during the study.
Men in the study who swam were 33 per cent less likely to fall compared with all men in the study. In contrast, the men who did other forms of exercise, such as golfing, hitting the treadmill or exercise bike, or playing lawn bowling games, were no less likely to fall, the researchers found.
Unlike land-based sports, swimmers create their own base of support at the same times as coordinating the movement of their arms and legs. This leads to an improvement in posture, core muscle strength and therefore better balance control.
Falls are a major health problem in older adults. Some falls can lead to broken bones, head injury and other complications that affect everyday life. Among adults ages 65 and older, one in three experience a fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If swimming can help to improve core strength and posture, whilst also still offering the benefits of decreased impact on weak joints and low-intensity activity, then it certainly seems to be the workout of choice for older adults prone to falling.
Those studying our Older Adult Fitness Coach course will have developed the knowledge of working with those that suffer from balance, joint or posture issues that would bring a huge amount of value to older adult swimmers. Our Aqua Instructor Course provides in-depth learning of training methods in water, alongside water exercise programmes for adults of all ages. The two combined make for a highly qualified fitness professional ready to help get older adults back on their feet. Or in this case... into the water!
Are you ready to specialise? Speak to the team about our Aqua Instructor Course. Or if you're already Level 2 qualified as a Fitness Instructor, you may fancy broadening your skills (and your client base!) with our Older Adult Fitness Course.