Royal Life Saving urges older Australians to refresh their skills and boost their fitness
Royal Life Saving joins the NSW Government’s Seniors Festival call to encourage older Australians, particularly men, to “try something new”, while embracing the health and social benefits of the water to boost critical water-safety skills.
Royal Life Saving NSW Health Promotions Manager, Louise Smalley, said with physical health and mobility a contributing factor to 21 per cent of drownings in people over 55, building strength and fitness through regular activity can also play a major role in drowning prevention.
“Last year, the leading contributing factors in drownings among Australians over 65 included low levels of fitness, trips or falls, lack of swimming and survival skills and underlying health conditions. The 65 to 74 year age group is one of our most vulnerable populations, representing 30 per cent of those who drowned last year.
“Building your fitness and confidence around the water is as important as it was when you first learned to swim as a child and we are calling all older adults to seek out new ways to become active adults.
“Any regular, structured activity helps build fitness, improves your ability to manage in the water and offers fantastic social community benefits.
Ms Smalley said participation rates show older Australians are highly motivated to stay connected with their communities however 60 per cent of over 65’s are under-active, reporting only four sessions of physical activity per week compared with 10 sessions per week for active adults.
“Let’s have fun and stay connected with exercise. Ten sessions is a great goal for all adults, it allows people to combine regular walking with an activity you enjoy, and to try something new.
“Including swimming or aqua aerobics is a fantastic way to build fitness gradually, and stay socially active throughout life.
“No matter your age or ability, there are plenty of opportunities to participate in an aquatic activity that suits you: swimming at your local pool, attending an aqua aerobics class, yoga or Tai chi by the lake, enjoying a walk along our inland and coastal waterways, kayaking or boating with friends and family.
“Local pools and aquatic centres are fantastic social hubs for many people to stay connected with their community.
Throughout this month’s NSW Seniors’ Festival, and beyond, RLS urges people to seek out new challenges, support their local pool or aquatic centre and enjoy new ways to have fun, keep active and stay safe in, on and around the water.
With regular, structured aquatic activities, we aim to reduce the drowning toll and provide people with access to this great Australian way of life, their entire lives