Most of us know someone who has fallen at home. Some people end up with a few bruises, while others have injuries requiring a trip to the hospital – a dislocated shoulder, broken hip, or worse. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one-third of Americans age 65 and older fall each year. Of that group, more than 1.6 million end up in the emergency room. “Among older adults,” the NIH says, “falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths.”
These statistics are scary, but there are also hopeful counterpoints, and swimming is among them. A study by the University of Western Sydney found that male swimmers age 70 and older had “significantly lower risks of falling” – meaning they took 33 percent fewer nosedives than other participants, including runners and golfers. What’s more, researchers found that swimmers had less “postural sway.” When compared against other men in a standing position, they wavered less, indicating better balance. These results don’t prove absolutely that taking up swimming can directly prevent falls. Still, aquatic therapists and swimming instructors often recognize a noticeable difference in balance between clients who swim, and those who do not even when swimmers trip.
It’s long been known that swimming has many health benefits for older adults. Research shows it can improve cognitive ability, lower blood pressure, and enhance hand-eye coordination.
At Acacia Creek, a Masterpiece Living Certified Center for Successful Aging, and retirement community, we believe that exercise is an important part of all wellness categories – intellectual, social, physical, and purposeful. Doing a few laps may even prolong life. One 2008 NIH-sponsored analysis of more than 40,000 men showed that swimmers had lower mortality rate than non-exercisers, walkers, and joggers. Also: Swimming is fun! Take a chance, stop by the pool, and find out for yourself.
By Penny Vittoria, Successful Aging Coach
Acacia Creek Retirement Community inspires residents to live an active, meaningful life. Our mission as a senior community is to enrich the independence, well-being, and security of our residents through exceptional services and care based on Masonic values.
To learn more about Acacia Creek or our senior housing opportunities, visit us at www.acaciacreek.org.