As you get older, you may start to wonder about all the things you didn’t do yet, and whether you can still accomplish them before you kick the bucket. Many people look at their bucket list and despair, thinking that the time has passed for so many things. However, you’d be surprised at what you can still accomplish even at an old age.
Some people have never learned how to swim in their life and so they are wondering if it’s too late for them to know how to swim. Swimming is an activity often introduced at a young age, and it only gets harder the older you get because of fear and embarrassment. If you are worried that your age is holding you back, I want to let you know that you can learn how to swim at any age.
There is no maximum age to learn swimming. Swimming is not an activity that only children and teenagers can do. You can be a young adult, middle-aged, or even a senior and learn how to swim. There is no rule at swimming pools that people past a certain age are not allowed to enter. Physical disabilities and medical conditions aside, the only thing stopping you from swimming is yourself.
Keep reading on to learn more tips on learning swimming at an old age.
Get professional help
After many decades of avoiding the swimming pool, your fear of the water might have evolved into a truly terrifying monster in your mind. That is why I recommend taking adult swimming lessons with a swim instructor that will guide you through every step of the process.
The instructors at adult swimming classes are specifically trained to help people with no experience and a crippling fear of the water. They understand how scary it is and they will be very kind, patient, and respectful of your concerns.
They know that the older someone is, the harder it is to overcome their fear or embarrassment. Swim instructors will ease you into the water by doing simple exercises to help you alleviate your fear. These exercises will show you just how safe you are and how easy it is for you to move around in the water.
Lessons will generally take place later in the day when there are less people around, so you can learn how to swim in relative privacy. Instructors will always start off in the shallow end of the pool, around 3-4 feet deep, so that when you’re standing up, your head is above the water.
As you can see, a swim instructor is an essential ally in your quest to learn how to swim. Don’t try to learn how to swim on your own. Don’t get a friend to give you lessons unless they are a swim instructor. You, as well as your family and friends, are ill-equipped to be giving lessons. Just hire a swim instructor and let them do all heavy-lifting.
Why swimming is the ideal sport for seniors
Not only is swimming possible for seniors, but it is arguably one of the best activities they can do in their old age.
Swimming is not only a great source of exercise, but it is a low-impact sport that tends not to aggravate sensitive joints.
I don’t think I need to explain the importance of exercise on one’s health, doubly so for older individuals who want to live a long and healthy life.
Swimming is one of the few activities that people with arthritis can participate in without aggravating their condition.
The pool is also often used to help patients recovering from surgery move around in a nearly zero gravity environment. The resistance of the water is enough exercise to help vulnerable people exercise their muscles in a safe way.
Contrary to popular belief, the older you are, the more suited you are for the pool as a safe way to exercise.
Before you sign yourself up for swimming lessons at your local pool, there are a few precautions you need to undertake.
See a doctor
Before you decide to head to the pool, consider giving your doctor a visit. Let your doctor know that you plan on exercising by swimming at the pool and if there are any concerns you should know about in regards to your health.
Tragically, many senior swimmers have lost their lives because they suddenly experienced a heart attack while swimming. There are perhaps other health conditions that can suddenly flare up in the middle of swimming.
If you have pre-existing health conditions then I do not recommend going to the pool until you get the all-clear from your doctor.
Know your limits
If you’re getting started with swimming at an older age, understand that your body isn’t quite what it used to be. You may not have the stamina or endurance you used to have when you were younger.
Exhaustion is a real concern for elderly swimmers. That is why it is important that you understand your limits and to stay within them. If you are not absolutely sure you can swim a full lap, for instance, then don’t even start it.
If you find yourself tiring out in the middle of the lap, then turn onto your back and call a lifeguard for help. Some people have too much pride to do this, but I don’t think it’s worth it to risk your life just so you can appease your ego.
Never swim alone
In a similar vein, you should never swim alone just in case an emergency happens. Swimming pools will always have lifeguards on duty, but there are very few of them compared to the number of swimmers.
Lifeguards sometimes rely on other swimmers to alert them of a problem, otherwise you will have to wait for them to notice you in an emergency.
If you swim near a lifeguard, then chances are much better they will notice you in an emergency. You can deliberately ask them to pay extra attention to you if you’re worried that you might need assistance.
Going swimming with friends or grandchildren can allow you to have the enjoyment of company, but also safety in numbers. Again, if something should happen to you, then your family or friends can quickly alert a lifeguard to help you.
While there is no maximum age to learn swimming, realistically speaking it does get a bit harder depending on just how old you are. If you’re middle-aged, then I don’t think you are yet at an age where physical capability is a concern.
The main concern is seniors who may have serious health conditions or physical disabilities. For these individuals, it may truly be too late for them to learn how to swim unassisted.
Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re incapable. If you do not have any medical conditions or physical disabilities and you’ve gotten the all-clear from your doctor, then there is no reason why you can’t learn how to swim.
You still still need to be careful with regards to knowing your limits and swimming alone. However, you should be free to join adult swimming lessons and be taught the valuable swimming skills that will help you learn how to swim and possibly save your life in an emergency.