7 Water Aerobic Exercises For Seniors
As we grow older, we are bound to experience certain changes that may influence our overall lifestyle. These changes may be in the form of our diet, clothing, hobbies, or preferred exercises.
When it comes to exercise, it’s advised that older people with physical restrictions refrain from practicing some high intensity workouts due to their intensity. These rigorous activities can be quite hard on the muscles, and can be detrimental to the health of older adults.
However, this doesn’t imply that your parents or grandparents should stop exercising, as there are several low-intensity workouts they can easily and conveniently participate in for their health. Several of these can be done in water, such as the pools at recreation facilities.
Many retirement residences like Seasons Retirement encourage their residents to sign up for fun-filled activities like dance exercises and water aerobic exercises to stay fit and active. Note that Seasons Retirement does not offer classes or resources for water aerobic exercises within their facilities, but encourages its residents to find classes offered around their locality.
In general, older adults can participate in several types of low-impact water aerobics exercises and cardio exercises. This article will cover some of the easiest and most accessible 7 aerobic exercises for older persons to participate in.
What Are Water Aerobic Exercises?
These are low-impact exercises that can help one stay fit and healthy. They are perfect for older adults experiencing stiffness or pain in their joints. Aerobic exercises are done in waist-deep pools or lower — but not up to shoulder level. The water helps to carry one’s weight, making it easy for them to perform the workout.
Water aerobics also leaves a calming effect on your older loved ones, improving their sleeping patterns and heart health. Here are some activities to add to your older relatives’ water aerobic exercises list.
Walking or Jogging In Water
This exercise is like walking on the ground. The main difference is the presence of water to provide some form of resistance. This activity increases the heart rate, supplying blood to the different organs and strengthening the heart muscles. Your older ones can perform this exercise comfortably even if they cannot swim. Ensure that they have an instructor or guide to help them in case of any difficulties.
This water aerobics exercise can be performed at the side of the pool, where one can hold on to the edge for support while they flutter-kick in the water.
Here’s how to practice the workout:
- hold on to the pool’s edge, but not too firmly;
- lie chest down in the water with your head out, and practice floating;
- while you float, kick your legs against the water at a steady pace that wouldn’t tire you out quickly;
- do this until you feel tired;
- rest for a while and go again;
If your older loved ones want to move around the pool, a floater can help.
You can include two types of leg lifts in your water aerobics exercises list. One type focuses on hip extension (flexion), while the other works on hip abduction (adduction).
To perform the first type (hip extension),
- use your right hand to hold on to the pool’s side for balance;
- place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward;
- stand straight and look forward, locking your knees slightly to keep your balance;
- slowly swing your left leg forward at the hip and then backward as far as you can go;
- do this 10 times and rest for a while;
- standing with your left hand holding the pool’s side, repeat the process for your right leg.
For hip abduction,
- stand holding the pool’s side with your right hand;
- holding the same stance as the first exercise, gently lift your left leg up and away from your body and bring it back;
- do this 10 times and rest for a while;
- repeat this process for your other leg to complete your set.
This is a simple exercise that helps to stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. Here’s how to practice the workout:
- stand straight in the pool with your feet flat on the pool floor;
- stretch your calf by lifting it onto your toes;
- try to hold this position for 1-2 seconds, then put your feet flat on the pool floor again;
- repeat this exercise until you feel tired.
If you need to support yourself while you exercise, you can hold on to the pool wall. Calf raises help to circulate blood in your calf muscle, reducing the risk of muscle pull.
Marching On a Spot
This exercise involves a more intentional and controlled movement of your hands and legs than walking in water.
To perform this activity,
- stand straight in the water;
- raise your right leg and bend it at the knee;
- while you do this, swing your left arm upward and bend it at the elbow, keeping it close to your body;
- following a rhythm, move your limbs alternatively, sticking to the instructions.
Chest fly strengthens the muscles in your arms and shoulders and also works on your flexibility and balance. To engage in this exercise, you should:
- Stand with one leg in front of the other, bend your knees;
- With your shoulders submerged in water, stretch your arms on either side of you. Ensure they do not bend at the elbow;
- Open your palms and move both arms forward until they almost touch in a clap;
- After this, move them back, like in a backward clap, as far as they can go.
The water level in the pool must be high enough so your shoulders can be comfortably submerged when you bend your knees.
Aerobic Exercises for Seniors: Arm Circles
- submerge yourself in the water to shoulder level by either bending your knees or moving to the deeper part of the pool;
- stretch your arms out sideways with your palm open;
- move your arms in a circular motion at a steady pace;
- stop when you begin to feel tired.
Aerobic Exercises for Seniors: Conclusion
Water aerobics for seniors are low-impact exercises that go easy on the joints. If your older loved ones are experiencing joint pains, they can carry out this workout without aggravating the pain.
Older adults can perform water aerobics without added weight because the water already acts as resistance, contributing to your body weight. But if parents or grandparents are up to the challenge, they can opt for exercise equipment like pool noodles, ankle weight, or water weight. That said, ensure they inform their physicians before using any of these pieces of equipment.