A study by the University of Queensland on 2000 Australians aged 60 and over found that they tend to watch TV longer than younger adults. The study also uncovered that the risk of developing metabolic syndrome—a cluster of cardiovascular diseases that leads to Type 2 diabetes—increases with the number of hours spent watching TV.
Bodily functions gradually deteriorate with ageing, but this is aggravated by dormancy. Diabetes is just one of the many ailments the elderly may develop with their sedentary lifestyle. Thus, health experts have always emphasised the importance of remaining active. Dr. Paul Gardiner, head of the Queensland study, said, “Reducing sedentary behaviour may be a feasible and practical way for older adults to improve their health and may be particularly important for those whose health or physical functioning limits their participation in moderate-intensity physical activity.”
With ageing comes a decrease in muscle mass, bone strength, and density, along with the breakdown of cartilage lining the joints. These changes make high-impact exercises such as walking and jogging more painful. Swimming, a less strenuous exercise, is a highly recommended alternative by health experts. Here are some of the health benefits seniors can enjoy with routine swimming in a Perth lap pool:
Healthy hearts. Swimming increases the body’s aerobic capacity, burns fat, and decreases the risk of coronary heart disease. It also makes the heart stronger and more effective at pumping blood.
Firmer muscles. Since water is denser than air, more muscle power is required for movement in the pool. This strengthens and tones the major muscle groups.
Comfy joints. The pool water supports the body, so a full-body workout is possible without straining the joints.
Reduced risk of osteoporosis. As one ages, bone density decreases, exposing most elderly to fractures. Those who swim regularly are found to have lower incidences of osteoporosis.
Cold water therapy
Cold water in a Perth plunge pool offers therapeutic benefits. It stimulates circulation and helps stabilise blood pressure. It calms the joints and muscles, leading to the release of endorphins and hormones that possess analgesic properties. It also boosts the immune system by stimulating cytokinesis and increasing the production of white blood cells.
Safety is the number one consideration when it comes to pools. Fibreglass pools offered by manufacturers such as Guardian Pools are equipped with non-slip treads on the steps and edge beams. Flooring on this type of pool is also designed with non-slip patterns for maximum safety.
Keep in mind, however, that any form of exercise would be useless if unhealthy lifestyle habits such as high alcohol consumption, smoking, and poor nutrition remain.
(Source: Diabetes Risk for Elderly Couch Potatoes in Australia, UQ.edu.au)