Let’s face it.
Working out is infinitely more fun when you’re splashing around in your local pool.
Whether you enjoy swimming, floating aimlessly, or passing a ball with your friends, there’s always something fun and exciting to do in the pool.
Today, we’ll go over why water exercises are so beneficial, and we’ll share five of the best water aerobics movements for seniors.
Why It’s Beneficial To Do Water Aerobics As You Get Older
Aquatic exercises are incredibly beneficial, especially for elderly folk, because they offer the many incredible benefits of physical movement while also being safe and reliable. Some research even suggests that water aerobics might ease symptoms of arthritis.
What’s more, water aerobics burns a lot of calories. It provides us with plenty of consistent resistance that helps build whole-body strength and endurance.
Plus, water helps take away some of our weight, which enables us to do specific advanced movements and keep stress away from the joints. This is particularly beneficial for overweight folks who are looking to start getting in shape.
In many cases, doctors and physiotherapists prescribe water exercises for rehabilitation purposes. They do a great job of mobilizing our joints, strengthening our muscles, and keeping the stress on the joints and connective tissues incredibly low.
And, finally – and perhaps what makes water exercises so great – the fact that it doesn’t feel like working out. Unlike most exercise modalities, it’s almost impossible to be in a pool and not feel motivated to move around and have fun.
The Five Best Water Aerobics Exercises And Activities For Seniors
Below, we’ve shared five of the best water aerobics exercises and activities. We recommend starting with a few and slowly working your way through all of them.
If you’re looking for the most straightforward exercise, to begin with, then walking is the safest option.
And while that may seem easy enough, the resistance provided by water makes even the simple act of walking a challenge.
To perform it effectively, stand in chest-level water, so there is enough resistance against your upper body, as well as your legs. Begin walking from end to end, and do your best to maintain a consistent pace. To make the exercise a bit easier, move to shallower waters, so the resistance against your arms and shoulders lessens.
If water walking feels too easy for you, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Water jogging is the next natural step in the progression and serves to challenge us more.
Now, thanks to the natural resistance of water, aqua jogging is quite safe and puts little pressure on your joints.
And, much like walking, it’s easy to do. All you have to do is stand in chest-level water and jog as briskly as you can. If you want to make the exercise a bit easier, move to shallow waters.
If you’re looking for a fun, dynamic, and highly-effective exercise, you need to try Water Taxi. All you need is a small swimming board, and you’re good to go.
To perform this exercise, sit on the kickboard with your knees together and feet dangling below. The board will sink a bit, and your shoulders should be submerged in the water.
From this position, extend your arms forward with your palms facing out. Simultaneously sweep both arms and bring them to your sides while keeping your elbows straight.
Perform ten to twenty strokes from front to back, then position your palms forward and do another ten to twenty strokes in the opposite direction.
Perform each stroke as slowly and as gracefully as you wish and take your time. There is no rush here.
Side Arm Raises
Performing side arm raises in the water is one of the safest and most effective ways to strengthen your arms and shoulders. For one, water provides a consistent level of resistance, which means that your shoulders get trained throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise.
Secondly, water arm raises are incredibly safe, thanks to the unique characteristics of water. Rather than lift a weight and try and control it on your way down, you can perform this on your terms and push as hard as you’re willing in both directions.
To perform it, stand in the shoulder- to neck-level water with your arms straight and to your sides. Keep your palms facing your thighs. From there, gracefully raise both arms simultaneously until your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in a straight line.
Then, lower your arms to the starting position and repeat for another ten to fifteen repetitions.
Aqua Jumping Jacks
There are very few exercises that are as fun as jumping jacks in the water. Not only does this exercise train your cardiovascular system, but it also develops your entire body, burns a lot of calories, and hardly requires any space.
So, if you want to spice up your water aerobics, jumping jacks are a great option.
To perform them, stand in chest-level water with your feet together and arms to your sides with palms facing your body. Simultaneously hop and kick both legs out as you raise your arms to the side and up over your head.
From there, hop again and bring your arms and legs to their starting position. Hop for another five to ten times.
Guidelines and Precautions
All of the above exercises are incredibly safe and effective. But, to reap the full benefit of them, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Don’t overexert yourself.
When it comes to water aerobics, quality beats quantity every single time. It’s important to remember that water provides a consistent level of resistance to your body, and you can more easily become fatigued. Overtraining yourself won’t bring any benefit.
So, remember to keep the repetitions on each exercise fewer (but of high quality), and don’t exercise for too long. As little as ten to fifteen minutes, three to four times per week will be more than enough.
Listen to your body.
If any of the above exercises cause you pain, you should stop doing them immediately and consult with a professional.
While each is quite safe, different folks respond in unique ways to different exercises.