Water Aerobic Exercises For Seniors

Staying active as we age has many benefits including staying mobile and feeling positive among many other benefits. Exercises in water are low-impact and low-weight bearing that promotes moving nutrients to the joint surfaces and minimizes risk of injury and stress to the joints. Burdens on the body such as ligaments, tendons and bones are lessened while increasing blood flow.

Water exercises help to relieve arthritis and joint pain while increasing bone density and muscle mass, critical for walking and day to day activities. Since water is used as a form of resistance, strength exercises can be performed without heavy weights which increases flexibility, balance and decreases bone and muscle loss. By improving balance and increasing your reaction time, there is less risk of falling which can have serious consequences for seniors.

Water exercises in a pool helps the cardiovascular system by increasing the efficiency of your blood circulation. This means the more you exercise, the less strain on the heart which leads to your overall fitness. Water aerobics can also help older women with osteoporosis to improve and maintain bone health.

If you need to lose weight, water aerobics burns up to 3.5 times a similar activity on land. It increases your metabolism, strength and improves balance to help keep up with normal activities of daily living. This in turn allows you to remain independent and active while maintaining an improved mental outlook.

Exercising in the pool should take place in water that is at least waist deep and not above your shoulders. You do not need to know how to swim and flotation devices can be used to help stay afloat in the water. The main purpose of water is to get the heart rate up and keep it up, so be sure your workout is at least a little challenging. Let’s now take a look at some water aerobics exercises that can be performed in a pool, lake or even the ocean.

Water Walking or Jogging

If you are new to this exercise you should start out in shallow water. As you progress and you want a more intense workout, you can exercise in deeper water and/or jog. Start by walking or jogging forward just as you would on land. Move forward planting the whole foot on the bottom with each step. Your core muscles are engaged with each step and your arms should move front to back for a full body workout. Work through the water from one side of pool to another or walk in place.

Walk in reverse to add variety and to add additional resistance and intensity, use water barbells or ankle weights. Water walking shoes are a great way to provide increased traction and grip while walking across the bottom. 

More Water Aerobics

  • Flutter Kicking:
    • You can do flutter kicking with or without a kickboard. If using a kickboard, hold it in front of you and kick your legs to propel you back and forth across the water. If you are not using the kickboard, hold the side the pool and keep your head above water while flutter kicking your legs. Kick consistently without tiring yourself to get the heart pumping.
  • Leg Lifts:
    • The water resistance works great to work the legs, core, hips and also improve your balance. To perform this exercise, stand in the pool and lift one leg out to the side and back down. Do as many repetitions as you can until your leg feels tired then switch to the other leg.
  • Leg Swings:
    •  Hold on to the edge of the pool facing sideways. Push your outside leg forward, hold for a few seconds, swing backwards and hold again. When your leg feels fatigued, repeat with the other leg. This exercise works your lower and upper body muscles, mainly the glutes, core, chest and back.
  • Standing Water Pushups:
    • Water push-ups increase the strength of your arms, chest and shoulders without putting excessive pressure on your joints. To perform this exercise stand along the side of the pool and place hands wider than shoulder-width apart on edge of pool. Bend your arms while leaning toward the wall then push yourself back out. Repeat exercise slowly until your arms feel tired.
  • Arm Curls:
    • For this exercise water weights can be used if you want extra resistance. Hold your arms with or without weights out in front with palms facing out. Curl your arms up and back down. Repeat until your arms feel fatigued. You can also perform this exercise with palms facing toward you instead of away with the same curling motion.

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