Can Senior Citizens Learn To Swim?

Swimming is a great way to get in shape and get your daily dose of exercise. But is it suitable for every age? Can senior citizens learn to swim?

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Swimming is a great way to get in shape and get your daily dose of exercise. But is it suitable for every age? Can senior citizens learn to swim?

Adults need to maintain an active lifestyle, but they suffer from weakness, poor health, arthritis, and more in old age. So is swimming the right option for them and can they learn swimming at the age of 50 or above?

Simply put, yes! You can easily learn to swim at the age of 50 or above. Although it is best to learn swimming at an early age, such as 3 or 4, it’s also possible to learn to swim when you are older. With the help of professionals, techniques, and practice, you can easily get the job done.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that makes it easier for senior citizens to learn without getting hurt. Swimming also offers multiple benefits to seniors, such as improved flexibility, heart health, and more. Can senior citizens learn to swim? Absolutely! But they need to keep up with daily practice to be good at it, as required with any new skill you learn.

In this article, we will discuss how can senior citizens learn to swim, but first, let’s discuss the benefits.

Table of Contents

Is There Any Age Limit to Learn to Swim?

People believe that swimming is a skill that should be taught at an early age, like 3 or 4. But that’s where we are wrong. In reality, there is no maximum age to learn swimming. Even 90-year-olds can easily learn swimming and turn out to be great swimmers.

Moreover, swimming is recommended by senior citizen caretakers and swimming instructors because it is a low-impact exercise and doesn’t put any weight on the body, so seniors with arthritis can easily stay in shape with the help of swimming.

How Long Does It Take for Senior Citizens to Learn to Swim?

Now that we know the answer to “can senior citizens learn to swim?” we need to find out how long it takes for them to pick up this skill. Ideally, it takes around 20-25 hours of private swimming lessons for an adult to learn the basics of swimming, provided they are not afraid of water and are healthy. In contrast, the process can be a bit longer for an adult who is afraid of water, overweight, and weak, but it’s not impossible.

Benefits of Swimming for Senior Citizens

Swimming provides a complete workout without putting force on your joints and greatly reduces the risk of injury. Below are listed some of the many benefits of swimming for senior citizens.

Improves Flexibility

Back pains, bad posture, pain in joints are some of the common problems faced by adults. With the help of swimming, seniors can improve flexibility and alleviate pain by stretching their limbs and exploring their full range of motion without harming themselves. This is something senior citizens can only do under water.  

Increases Muscle Strength

According to a study, it was reported that men at the age of 70 that swim are 33% less likely to fall than those who don’t. Why? Because swimming targets your muscles, neck, upper body, and legs, all of which are important for maintaining stability. Daily exercise makes them stronger and leaner, giving them proper support and posture.

Promotes Heart Health

Swimming is great for the heart as well. By swimming twice or thrice a week for 30 minutes, you can significantly improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure, and reduce the risks of coronary diseases.

Improves Sleep Cycle

Since swimming targets and works all body muscles, it can leave you tired after 30 minutes. This is the same for all ages but especially for senior citizens as most of them are not used to exercising this much. Thus, swimming helps in improving their sleep cycle as it leaves them physically drained. It also relaxes the body and mind, which leads to a peaceful sleep.

Swimming is also a great way to improve mental health, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall health.  

Tips for Learning How to Swim for Senior Citizens

Below are some beginner-level tips for teaching senior citizens how to swim.

Gain Confidence

For adults or senior citizens scared of swimming, it’s best to start by familiarizing yourself with it. Instructors recommend slowly bobbing up and down in the water, submerging your head, going as deep as shoulder-level water, and moving around, just to get a feel of how your body behaves under the water.

Start at the Shallow End

Another beginner-level tip for seniors learning to swim is starting at the shallow end. Since they are new to the experience, take it slow at first and start at a shallow water level. You have the option to stand in the water, lower your body to your comfort level, submerge your body, learn to hold your breath underwater, and more to see what stage you are at in the learning process and how much time it will take for you to get comfortable.

Learn to Float

Floating is the first step towards learning how to swim. It is easy to learn and excel. You can float on your back and stomach. Generally, floating on your back is easier, and that’s what seniors should learn first. There are many steps involved, but first, you need to relax and trust your instructor. Then with a professional’s help, lean down on your back and slowly lift your legs. You also need to lift your arms above your hand to distribute the weight, improve balance, and then push off the wall and float.

Buy Swimming Gear

Can senior citizens learn to swim? Yes, but with the proper equipment. Adults tend to get scared of the whole process, and it’s completely understandable. Thus, to make the learning process easier, it is recommended that they wear proper swimming gear, especially goggles, to protect them and increase their visibility. With goggles, they can clearly see underwater and be more comfortable.

Learn Breaststroke Swimming Technique

After floating, the next thing to learn is the breaststroke swimming technique. It is the easiest swimming method and great for senior citizens as their heads stay above the water surface, with arms and legs movement being done under the water. The first thing you need to learn is your body shape. Then, the leg and arm movement, and finally, gliding. You can use pool noodles for each practice and slowly set your pace.


None of these tips will work if you don’t practice. One of the reasons that senior citizens fail to become good swimmers is that they don’t keep up with the practice. We are not talking about a daily 30-min practice, but once or twice a week is necessary to remember the basics and keep your body and health in optimum condition.

Now that you know the answer to, “can senior citizens learn to swim?” you can make a substantial positive change in your life and make your body healthy, fit, and strong. Like any other new skill, you need a positive attitude, determination, and strong will to achieve the results, but you won’t regret it once you do.

Swimming is an excellent way to release the excess energy in your body and engage all the right muscles to keep your body fit. Swimming provides multiple benefits for senior citizens, which they can significantly benefit from only if they are ready to take the plunge. Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself; it will take time for your body to get used to it. At the start, you will get tired quickly and run out of breath. But don’t give up, because you can do it. We hope this information helped!

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