Exercising is good for physical and mental wellbeing – It is an established fact. And the same applies to everyone, including ageing seniors. In fact, exercising is especially beneficial for seniors. It can help prevent many age-related issues such as being prone to falling and deteriorating cognitive functions apart from the general health benefits typically exercising offers. Water aerobics exercises not only provide the intended benefits to practising seniors but is entirely fun!
Aerobic exercises are great for improving blood circulation in the body and can help prevent cardiovascular problems and other diseases in general. But it is essential to choose the type of workout that is both suitable and effective at the same time.
Water aerobics, aka aqua aerobics, is a great way for seniors to incorporate exercise into their daily routine because water reduces the risk of falls and injury. And due to the resistance offered by water while moving, the chances of muscle pull or any damage to ligaments and tendons become lower.
- helps improve flexibility and balance
- improves cardiovascular health
- the water resistance makes the activity a mild form of strength training
- and is a great option to relieve arthritis-related joint pain
The best way to go about it is to join an aqua aerobics class if you can find one near you. If not, look at the exercises we have listed below to try on your own at a nearby pool.
Water aerobics: Six exercises for seniors to try for health benefits
1. Aqua jogging
- As the name suggests, jog around the pool.
- If you find it tough to jog, you try walking instead.
2. Leg lifts
- Lift one leg to the side and bring it back down.
- Do a few reps on one leg and then switch to the other.
You can do this by holding onto the pool edge.
3. Leg swings
- Swing one of your legs forward and backwards slowly.
- And repeat with the other leg.
4. Arm circles
- Opt for this exercise if you are comfortable going deeper into the pool; the water needs to reach up to your neck.
- Raise your arms to your sides and move them in circles in a clockwise direction a few times.
- And then repeat the circles in the anti-clockwise direction.
5. Arm curls
- For this exercise, it is helpful to have pool weights or a pool noodle.
- Stand in chest-deep water.
- Hold the weights out in front of you, curl the weights up and back down.
- And repeat.
You can also do arm curls by extending your arms out to the side with the weights. Repeat lowering and lifting weights by bending at the elbows and working your forearms. This water aerobics exercise significantly improves arm strength in seniors apart from other benefits.
6. Standing push-ups
- Place your arms on the edge of the pool, a little more than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your arms to lean toward the wall and push ourselves back up.
You can first try these simple exercises and then add more as you get more comfortable doing exercises in water. Typically you can replicate most exercises that you do on solid ground. Even yoga and pilates are done in water nowadays.
Don’t know swimming?
Now, those seniors who don’t know swimming might be disappointed thinking water aerobics is not for them. But, this is not the case. You can also do the same set of exercises listed above at the shallow end of the pool safely. And, of course, while at it, why not learn swimming as well? Because swimming is indeed another excellent exercise option for seniors.
Any form of exercise might cause harm to oneself, so, as an ageing senior, you must do some homework before diving into water aerobics exercises for health benefits.
- Consult your doctor before starting water aerobics or for any new exercise for that matter.
- Familiarise yourself with the pool and surroundings and exercise caution, especially in those areas that tend to be slippery.
- Take it slow, spend a short period exercising in the pool initially and extend it gradually as it feels comfortable.
- Don’t be fooled by the low-impact nature of the water exercises. It can actually be very tiring because of the resistance offered by water.
- In case you feel tired or dizzy, it is crucial to get out of the pool.
If you are a senior reading this article, go ahead and take the plunge, literally, and attend water aerobics exercise classes or do it by yourself or along with your friends regularly. Or, if you are a young person with ageing parents, relatives or friends, give a gentle nudge to help your loved ones live a full life even as they age. Sure, it will be fun!
As they say, age is just a number!