Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Seniors

December 9, 2014

It has been said that swimming is one of the best forms of exercise a person can engage in. It works nearly every muscle group in the body, and since it's a low-impact exercise, it's easy on bones and joints. This is especially valuable for senior citizens who otherwise may avoid exercise due to weaker muscles, joint pain or osteoporosis.


Of course, not all senior citizens can be excellent swimmers. Swimming is hard work, and it's enough to scare some people away from their local pool altogether. Fortunately, seniors can still reap the benefits of swimming through aquatic therapy, a form of exercise performed in a swimming pool that is simple enough for just about anybody. 

Aquatic therapy has several benefits for seniors who might not be up for swimming laps in their local pool. Here are just a few of them. Always consult with your doctor or health professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, like starting a new diet or exercise regimen.

It's a Low-Impact Exercise

As we discussed above, aquatic therapy and swimming are low-impact exercises that are easier on aching joints and bones. This makes it an ideal activity for seniors who may be suffering from arthritis or any other conditions that may cause joint pain.

It's Safer

Many senior citizens are vulnerable to slip-and-fall injuries either due to muscle weakness, bone loss or other conditions. This makes doing something as simple as taking a walk a risky proposition, but gentle movements in shallow water are much easier and safer. This allows seniors to perform exercises that will strengthen their muscles and improve their balance in a virtually risk-free environment.

It Provides Resistance

Physical therapy exercises will almost always be beneficial no matter where they are performed, but they become much more effective when some gentle resistance is applied. Water can provide that resistance, which is why aquatic therapy has proven to be so useful for so many people. 

It Can Improve Flexibility

Because aquatic therapy is a low-impact exercise, it is often used to improve a patient's flexibility. This is especially true with therapy performed in warmer water. The heat from the water eases much of the pain felt in the joints and muscles, making once-difficult movements that much easier.

As always, the most important part of any physical therapy or exercise regimen is that people stay active. That can be done with walking, running, weight training or any other kind of activity. Since many of these exercises are difficult for many seniors, aquatic therapy exercises are often the perfect solution for staying active well into old age.

Whether you’re looking to add some aquatic exercise to your fitness routine or you need some extra help bouncing back from injury through physical therapy, there’s a Concordia location that is perfect for your needs. Several of our senior living communities provide a pool that our residents can use as a part of their regular fitness routines. Additionally, seniors seeking aquatic therapy can take advantage of the physical therapy services at our Cabot location. No matter where your needs lie, the caring staff of Concordia Lutheran Ministries is happy to lend a helping hand. Contact us today and discover how we can help you add comfort and convenience to your life.


  • Comment Link Alex Lane posted by Alex Lane on commentDate, JText::_('K2_DATE_FORMAT_LC2')); ?> Oct 19, 2015 12:59 PM

    Thanks for these thoughts. I am trying to help my grandmother find a good physical therapist to help her recover from a recent injury, but had not thought about aquatic therapy. As you mentioned, it would be great since it is low-impact. I may have to add this to the list of what we are looking for.

  • Comment Link Concordia posted by Concordia on commentDate, JText::_('K2_DATE_FORMAT_LC2')); ?> May 29, 2015 3:01 PM

    Thanks for the comment Jane! For us, it's just about explaining the benefits to our patients. Aquatic therapy is a great way to de-weight the body to perform low-impact activities to strengthen and improve the joint or muscle integrity. It helps increase joint flexibility and it decreases joint impact - so you can do exercises that you may not be able tolerate on land. The water's buoyancy takes away stress and pressure off the muscles and joints, which can help lower your body's pain level. It can help improve arthritis, muscle spasms and chronic pain as well, which are all common medical conditions in the aging population.

  • Comment Link Jane Fox posted by Jane Fox on commentDate, JText::_('K2_DATE_FORMAT_LC2')); ?> May 28, 2015 5:23 PM

    I love the idea of using aquatic therapy to help with senior citizens. You list some great reasons as to why it's effective for them. Have you found that it's easy to convince people that it's useful? I think sometimes people are hesitant to try aquatic therapy because it's unconventional. Any tips on how to help people go for it?

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.