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Health & Wellness

10 Pool Exercises for Seniors

Staying active as we age can be difficult, but finding the right type of activity for your goals makes a world of difference. For those who want to infuse a sense of fun into their workouts, exploring pool exercises can be an exciting place to start. From the socialization benefits that come from joining water aerobics classes for seniors to the simplistic joy of walking with minimal stress on your joints, getting into the pool is an invigorating way to stay moving year-round.

Whether you’ve picked up a membership at your local recreation center or reside in a senior living community with pool amenities, we’ve put together a list of energizing water exercises for seniors that can help you get started. It’s important to remember that, as with any new exercise regime, you should speak with your doctor first before you begin and remain aware of the necessary safety precautions you’ll need to take.

What Is Water Aerobics for Seniors?

Sometimes referred to as aqua aerobics for seniors, water aerobics generally entails class-based exercise routines performed in the shallow end of the pool—specifically, water that is at least waist deep, but not above your shoulders. While water workouts for seniors aren’t limited to aerobic classes and can be done at any time, you should never exercise alone in a pool, or push your body too far – which can result in injury, pain, and a halt to your progress.

What Is Water Strength Training for Seniors?

Many of the water-based exercises performed during aqua aerobics are designed to enhance strength and endurance. These low-impact resistance exercises for seniors include everything from targeted movements for better core stability to leg strength training and full-body movements.

What Are the Benefits of Water Exercise for Seniors?

Among the best fitness exercises for seniors who may have limited mobility or need low-impact workouts, water aerobics enable older adults to maintain an active lifestyle that suits their unique needs. More than this, the regular strength and balance training involved in water exercises can help seniors keep up with their normal activities of daily living and retain their independence.

In addition to overall mobility benefits, water exercises can also help those with arthritis or chronic pain enjoy a workout that is less likely to exacerbate their symptoms when performed correctly. Other major benefits include the opportunity for socialization and growing your community, due to the prevalence of aqua classes for seniors.

Popular Water Exercises for Seniors

To help you get an idea of what aqua aerobics and strength training entails, here are some of the most common water exercises you can expect to perform during a class.

1. Water Walking: Walk across the pool or march in place. The purpose is to increase your heart rate, so push yourself to a pace and duration that is challenging but still comfortable.

2. Flutter Kicks: This movement propels you forward with your legs. You can travel across the pool using a kickboard, or hold the sides of the pool and kick while you stay in place.

3. Leg Lifts: Stand in place and lift your leg straight out to the side and back down. Repeat until you’re fatigued and then do the same with the other leg. This works the muscles in your legs and hips, as well as your core muscles.

4. Leg Swings: Stand by the sides of the pool and hold onto the edge, facing sideways. Bring your outside leg forward, hold for a few seconds, then swing it backward and hold again. When you’re comfortably fatigued, turn around and repeat with the other leg.



group of seniors practicing pool exercises

5. Standing Push-ups: Stand by the sides of the pool and grab the edge with your arms straight. Bend your elbows and lean in toward the wall, then push out and straighten your arms. This is a great pool exercise for building upper body strength without putting too much stress on the joints.

6. Arm Curls: Stand in the pool with your arms straight down and your palms out. Bend your arms and curl your water weights up and then back down fast enough to feel the resistance of the water. Repeat until you’re comfortably fatigued.

7. Arm Circles: Move to deeper water or squat down so the water comes to your shoulders. Lift your arms straight out to your sides, with your palms down. Move your arms in a circular motion forward for 10 to 20 seconds, then reverse direction. This is a great way to engage your arms and shoulders.

8. Chest Fly: Hold your arms out in front of your chest, palms facing each other. Push your arms through the water out to your sides and then back together in front of you. Use water weights to increase the resistance of the water if you can.

9. Calf Raises: Hold the edge of the pool, shift your weight to the balls of your feet, lift your heels, hold, and come back down.

10. Swim: This is the most basic of pool exercises for seniors. It’s a great full-body form of exercise that works your heart, limbs, and core muscles all at once.

As with all exercise, start slow and easy, and increase gradually. With water exercises, you can wear flotation if you feel more comfortable, and drink plenty of water.

Enjoy Aqua Aerobics at Harbour’s Edge | Senior Living in Delray Beach

One of the easiest ways to explore water aerobics is to choose a senior living community that offers pool amenities and fitness programs, like Harbour’s Edge in Delray Beach, Florida. Here, seniors can enjoy aquatic exercises in the heated, waterfront pool that overlooks the harbor. Poolside cabanas and lounge areas serve as the perfect place to unwind after a class with friends, led by trained professionals.

To find out about the health services offered at Harbour’s Edge, including pool exercise classes, fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page.

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