Staying active as we age can be difficult, but pool exercises for seniors can be a fun way to get moving year-round. It’s a great way to socialize and feel invigorated as you get your blood flowing, especially if you need to minimize stress on the joints.
You can try any of the following water exercises, but be aware of your safety. Never exercise alone in a pool. The goal is attaining the health benefits of aerobic exercise and muscle strength, but pushing yourself too far can lead to injury, pain and a halt to your progress. And as always, talk to your doctor before you begin any form of exercise.
Pool exercises for seniors should take place in water that is at least waist deep, but not above your shoulders.
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 backwards and hold again. When you’re comfortably fatigued, turn around and repeat with the other leg.
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.
To find out about the pool exercises for seniors offered at Harbour’s Edge, fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page.