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Swimming "Could Reduce Fall Risk in Older Brits"

Swimming "Could Reduce Fall Risk in Older Brits"
13 November 2014 1869 Views No comments

Swimming isn't just beneficial for babies and children. Now there's a reason to get nan and grandad involved in your trips to the pool, as swimming has been found to help improve balance, reducing the risk of falls.

The Express reports that new research has found that regular swimming could help older Brits to stay fit and healthy, while also helping their balance. As falls become a very real risk as you get older, it can affect independence.

If the risk of a fall is thought to be too great, many people can be wary about living alone in their later years for fear of injury when there is no one around to help them. This can really hamper independence, with many even concerned about going out and about on their own.

Researchers from the University of Western Sydney have suggested that swimming regularly could be the most effective way to mediate this risk, helping to build confidence and improve health at the same time.

The team looked at the link between the incidence of falls and common sporting activities. Included in the study were 1,600 men with an average age of 76 between the years 2005 and 2011. They looked at men because it is more common for older males to experience falls and to suffer injuries as a result.

It was found that all sports were beneficial when it came to balance, with low-impact activities like golf helping to reduce the risk by around 35 per cent, compared to those who didn't do any sport. However, the biggest reduction was seen with swimming, which cut the chances of falls by a more than half (53 per cent).

These findings have led the Simplyhealth Advisory Research Panel to call for more promotion of swimming among older people.

Dr Gill Jenkins, Simplyhealth Advisory Research Panel member, told the news provider: "Many older people enjoy swimming and have an added reason for doing so in terms of the improved balance and reduced risk of falls observed in this study.

"Falls are a considerable cause of death and hospital admissions in older people. They cost the NHS more than £2 billion a year and also have a knock-on effect on productivity costs in terms of carer time and absence from work."

Swimming is a great low-cost activity for the whole family, so why not get grandparents involved with your children's swimming lessons?