The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.” There are plenty of great ways you can stay active like walking and dancing but there’s something to be said about pool exercises. Not only can you get a full-body workout when exercising in the pool, but the buoyancy of the water also allows the workouts to be low-impact making it gentle on your joints and bones.
Better yet, the water provides more resistance compared to doing the same moves on land. Swimming workouts can be a safe option for seniors who want to increase their physical activity and for people with arthritis, injury, or disability. That said, make sure you speak with your doctor before starting a new workout regimen. If you’re ready to enjoy effective and low-impact workouts, then check out these 10 pool exercises for seniors.
Walking in Water
Get your heart rate up by walking in the water! It’s a great cardio and resistance training exercise that will burn calories. Better yet, walking in water is much gentler on your joints than walking on land.
Beginners should start at a slower pace. You can increase your intensity as your endurance increases. Try walking for five to 10-minutes and start in shallow water around waist height. Make sure you engage your core and stand tall as you walk. Also, focus on pressing your heels first into the ground and then your toes and avoid walking on your tiptoes.
Jumping Jacks in Water
Jumping jacks are another easy yet effective cardio exercise that you can do in the pool. During this exercise, you’ll be working the muscles in your upper and lower body.
Start by standing in the water at chest level with your feet together and arms at your sides. Next, jump and move your legs outward and at the same time, lift your arms and then jump again back to the starting position. Try to repeat for one to three sets with 10 repetitions in each set.
Flutter kicking is another excellent low-impact cardio exercise that will get your heart rate up. Using a kickboard, hold it in front of you and then flutter kick your legs to propel you around the pool.
If you don’t have access to a kickboard you can perform this exercise without it. Simply, begin by floating in the water on your belly and then kick your legs. Be sure to kick at a steady tempo to get your heart rate up!
Back Wall Glide
The back wall glide exercise will help stimulate the muscles in your lower body and core. Begin by holding onto the pool ledge. Next, tuck your knees into your chest and press your feet into the wall.
Once you’re in position, push off from the wall and float on your back going as far as you can. Then bring your knees to your chest and push your feet down to the floor of the pool. Finally, run, jog, or walk (whatever you’re capable of doing) back to the wall. Repeat this exercise for five to 10-minutes.
Pool Edge Push-Ups
If you have a hard time doing push-ups on land, then give them a try in the pool! Pool edge push-ups are a joint-friendly exercise that will help you build strength in your shoulders, chest, and arms.
Begin by facing the pool wall and put your arms out in front of you. Place your hands on the pool edge about shoulder-width apart. Next, press your weight through your hands and slowly raise your body, halfway out of the water while keeping your elbows slightly bent. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower back into the pool. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions.
Swimming in itself is a great arm exercise but if you’re looking for more ways to engage your arm muscles give arm curls a try. You can perform this exercise without weight, however, water weights will provide extra resistance.
Stand in the water at shoulder height while holding the dumbells at your sides and palms facing up. Next, ensure your elbows stay close to your torso as you lift your forearms. Then rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing down and lower your forearms back down. Try to repeat for one to three sets with ten repetitions in each set.
Lateral Arm Raises
Lateral arm raises are another great exercise that targets your arms and upper body. Once again to feel a greater resistance we recommend using water weights for this exercise.
Start by standing in the water at shoulder height. Hold the dumbells at your sides and begin to raise your arms to shoulder height. Then, slowly lower back down. Try to repeat for one to three sets with ten repetitions in each set.
Legs curls will help strengthen your hamstrings and calves. You’ll work against the resistance of the water as you lower and lift your leg.
Begin by standing with your feet together. Extend both arms out to the sides and if you need to, hold on to the edge of the pool with one hand for support. Next, bend your right knee and tap your butt with your heel to perform butt kicks. Lower your leg and repeat with the left leg. Continue alternating back and forth for 20 repetitions.
High Knee Lift Extensions
High knee lift extensions are an excellent exercise that can help strengthen the muscles in your lower body and core. You don’t need weights, however, if you want to add extra resistance you can add ankle weights.
Start by standing in the water at about waist height. Next, engage your core and begin to lift your left leg. Bend the knee until your leg is at water height. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and then extend your leg straight out. Hold this position for another couple of seconds and then lower your leg back down to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg and continue alternating legs for up to ten minutes.
This exercise can help improve core stability and can help strengthen your arms. Stand in the water at neck height and then bring your knees to your chest. Next, lean back and then extend and straighten both legs into a pike position. Your body should make a “V” shape — your buttock should be pointing down to the bottom of the pool.
Beginners may only be able to hold this position for a few seconds, however, the more you practice this exercise and build up your core muscles the longer you will be able to hold it. Next while holding this position, push your arms in backward circles to help tone your triceps. Then release and return to a standing position and rest. Try to repeat for 10 repetitions.