Photo of swimming senior citizens
Swimming is the ideal exercise for lowering blood pressure

Swimming strengthens heart, burns calories

2 August, 2012

Natural Health News — Regular water workouts lower blood pressure and may be the perfect exercise for older adults.

Older sedentary adults who swam three or four days per week for 15 to 45 minutes had an average 9-point drop in their systolic blood pressure after 12 weeks, Hirofumi Tanaka, Ph.D., director of the cardiovascular ageing research laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues found.

In addition, study participants experienced significant vascular improvements, with their arteries becoming more elastic and responsive to blood flow, the study shows.

That’s an important finding, as most adults see their arteries harden with age. At the same time, swimming can help you trim your waistline (it cuts about as many calories as jogging), which confers its own heart and wellness benefits.

“Swimming is ideal for older adults because it includes minimum weight-bearing stress and decreased heat load,” the authors write.

The researchers recommend checking with your practitioner before beginning a swimming regimen, however, as water pressure may put stress on your heart and lungs.

Also, remember to hydrate the same as you would during a normal workout, since you’re still exercising but less likely to notice that you’re sweating.

The study appears in the April 2012 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.