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Synchronized swimming helps older woman cope with MS, enjoy gold years

August 1, 2014

Swimming is a summer activity that many seniors can participate in without overexerting themselves, though some prefer to push their limits. Senior Planet reported on the Aquadettes, a group of older women in the California area who use synchronized swimming to stay fit and socialize with one another - and it even made them famous. Led by 76-year-old Margo Bouer, the friends were profiled in a documentary that appeared in the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. While their spirit and talent were enough to make them worthy of the big screen, one thing especially set this group of mature swimmers apart from the rest - Margo has had multiple sclerosis for years.

In a clip of the documentary, Margo talks about her experience with the disease and noted how swimming has helped her stay active and positive. Although she has difficulty walking and uses a walker to get from place to place, once she's in the pool, you wouldn't be able to guess that she has the illness.

Swimming benefits for those with MS
Whether she knew it or not, Margo chose an activity that is especially helpful for people with multiple sclerosis. According to Healthline, it is difficult for those with the disease to find a physical activity that they can comfortably enjoy. Swimming is a great way to strengthen their muscles without fear of falling or getting injured. Plus, the water's buoyancy takes pressure off of joints, supports weak limbs and makes them feel lighter. As an aerobic activity, swimming is an ideal workout for your heart and helps combat the fatigue that many patients with MS experience. 

Different types of water activities
Swimming promotes a healthy lifestyle for seniors - and not just those with MS. If your assisted living community doesn't have a pool on the premises, find out if it offers any swimming trips or activities. 

  • Synchronized swimming - If Margo inspired you to want to learn more about synchronized swimming, you may want to give it a try. This activity requires you to learn a choreographed routine that involves spinning and dipping in sync with your teammates. It's a great way to tone muscles, practice your memorization skills and make new friends.
  • Ai chi - According to Healthline, this exercise originated in Japan and acts as a form of therapy for both your mind and body. Requiring deep, controlled breathing and steady movements, it can be comparable to yoga. Not only does it help tone muscles, but it also helps with focus, balance and flexibility.