Long Distance Aerobic Swimming for Seniors

Aerobic swimming has shown to increase flexibility in seniors.
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The term aerobic simply means with air or oxygen. When it comes to exercise, an aerobic workout works out your heart and lungs by increasing the amount of oxygen needed throughout your body. Aerobic activities show to help control body fat, tone muscles, increase lean muscle mass and increase general stamina. For a senior swimmer that is looking to maintain her fitness level, try swimming at least three times a week. If you are looking to increase your fitness, increase your workouts to four to five times a week. A senior swimmer is considered anyone who is 55 years or older.


An aerobic activity is one that uses the same large muscle group for at least 15 to 20 minutes. While performing this activity, you need to maintain 60 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Swimming doesn’t activate just one large muscle group; it activates all the large muscles groups in your body. For an aerobic swimming workout, you need to swim a longer duration at a fairly low intensity.


This long distance aerobic workout should take you about 60 minutes to complete and it covers 2,500 meters. Begin with an easy 200-meter warmup followed by 350 meters in any stroke. Grab a kickboard and do 100 meters kicking. Using a pull buoy, swim 100-meters using only your arms. Follow this with a 350-meter freestyle swim. Next, do a set with a 100-meter freestyle swim followed by two 50-meter swims in any stroke. Take 30 seconds rest after each 100 and 10 seconds rest after each 50. Do the set four times and rest 30 seconds after each set. For the next set, do four 50-meter intervals. The first interval should be freestyle, the second one should be kicking, the third should be done in any stroke and the last one should be only pulling. Repeat the set four times taking 10 seconds rest between 50 meters and 30 seconds rest between sets. For a cool down, do a 200-meter swim in any stroke.

Heart Rate Zone

Because aerobic swimming should be done at 60 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, you should calculate this range before getting in the pool. A simple way to calculate your maximum heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220. While in the pool, check your heart rate by counting your pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply this number by 4.

Expert Advice

According to a study published in Proceedings of International Symposium on Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, a group of low-active senior men followed a five-month swim program. During the program, they received instruction on stroke technique. At the end of the program, the men showed significant stroke improvement and in pool performance but they also saw improvement in regards to overall flexibility, ankle movement, hip rotation, shoulder movement and body height.

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