Is Swimming Good For Seniors? [Short Guide]

Hello friend! In this post, you will find the answer to a common question from seniors looking to maintain and improve their fitness and health: Is swimming good for seniors?

I’m sure you have heard that swimming is a great form of exercise because it’s easy on the joints and the back. This is one of the reasons it’s often recommended to seniors, especially if they have any joint issues or significant overweight that prevent higher impact exercise or walking.

But is swimming actually good for you? Well, the short answer is yes, swimming is a great form of exercise for people of any age. But it’s not suitable for everyone and there are safety concerns and skill requirements to do it effectively.

More important, swimming might not be the ideal form of exercise for you. For example, swimming is often touted for its ability to build and maintain muscle but any form of strength training is far superior for that purpose.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of swimming for seniors.

Pros Of Swimming For Seniors

Let’s look at the pros of swimming first before talking about the possible cons.

First of all, swimming is a relatively low impact on the joints and since you don’t have to support your own body weight, it’s great if you are significantly overweight, have back pain, have disabilities, etc.

Swimming will allow you to exercise even if you are not able to walk, presuming you don’t have disabilities that prevent swimming as well of course. Different types of swimming and water exercise can be done with floatation devices, so you don’t have to necessarily be physically able or skilled to stay afloat on your own.

Swimming is also great for improving muscle strength and tone if you have disabilities that prevent strength training and other types of exercise that are more effective for maintaining muscle mass.

Finally, if you are fit enough to swim longer distances, swimming is a great form of low-impact cardio. Swimming slowly for a mile or two is a great cardiovascular exercise that doesn’t strain your joints.

You also need to remember that swimming is a skill that saves lives. By going swimming you are maintaining and improving that skill and it can save your or someone else’s life if you ever find yourself in water unintentionally.

Cons Of Swimming For Seniors

The biggest cons of swimming are that it requires some skill and physical ability to be done effectively. For most seniors walking is a lot easier form of exercise for example.

For safety reasons swimming should be done alone only if you are confident with your skills and in good health. If you are not an experienced swimmer, you will need supervision and someone to teach you.

You can use floatation vests and equipment, but it’s a lot more effective if you can swim effectively. But like we talked about, in some cases, swimming is the best type of exercise especially if you can’t do anything that involves supporting your own weight.

This is the second con of swimming. Because you are not supporting your frame and there is almost no impact involved in the exercise, swimming is not very beneficial for bone health. Now don’t get wrong, swimming is a lot better than no exercise but even walking is superior for bone health. Strength training, tennis, jogging, anything with impact and high resistance is good for preventing osteoporosis.

Swimming can also be hard on your skin, especially if you have any skin conditions that could get irritated or infected in the pool.

Many seniors also feel a bit uncomfortable wearing skimpy swimming suits around others which can make swimming unenjoyable.

Is Swimming The Optimal Form Of Exercise For Seniors?

So is swimming good for seniors? The answer is yes, exercise is almost always good for you. But the question is compared to what and also depends on your physical fitness and health.

If you are someone who has arthritis, disabilities, back issues, obesity, etc, swimming can be a great way to start improving your physical health regardless of your age. Especially if you know how to swim effectively already.

But if you are able to walk and do some light bodyweight or theraband strength training and don’t like the idea of swimming, there’s no need to force yourself to do it.

And that final bit is probably the most important. If you don’t have any physical ailments preventing you from swimming, and you like swimming, it’s a great form of exercise!

That’s the most important thing to remember, you should always choose the forms of exercises that are most enjoyable to you and if swimming happens to be that, do it! Just add a bit of higher impact work and strength training to keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong and you are good.

The only reason you should swim if you don’t really want to is if that’s the only form of exercise suitable for your condition. Then it’s important to listen to the medical professionals and do your best to exercise in water. Health is more important than enjoyment even though they should go hand in hand most of the time.


I hope you found this short article about swimming for seniors useful. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for seniors with some cons and it’s not always the ideal option. That said if you enjoy it, it’s one of the best activities you could choose as swimming is a life-saving skill. And most importantly it’s really fun!

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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