Swimming is an increasingly popular form of exercise among all age groups—including senior citizens. Because the low-impact activity is easy on the joints, water aerobics is an effective way for individuals with osteoporosis or arthritis to get their bodies moving. Swimming strengthens the legs, arms, and core muscles. It also improves balance and promotes good posture. Last, but certainly not least, it’s enjoyable!
New Horizons at Marlborough’s fitness center includes amenities to support virtually any fitness level. In addition to aerobic and strength-training machines, residents benefit from a state-of-the-art swimming facility. Continue reading to learn about some of the exercises we teach in our pool exercise course at New Horizons at Marlborough.
This exercise is great for posture and supports lower body muscle tone. To get the most benefit, wade into waist-deep water and start walking just as you would on land, with your feet flat on the bottom of the pool. Make sure you’re walking straight and avoiding walking on your tiptoes. Continually working on one’s posture can alleviate back pain and improve overall mobility.
This move is a little more advanced and best for those who are comfortable being nearly submerged in water. Wade to where the water is deep enough that only your neck and head are above the surface. Next, raise your arms out to both sides and move them in circular motions at a comfortable pace. After about 20 seconds of circling in one direction, switch the motion to start going backward. This movement will help to strengthen the arm muscles.
In a corner of the pool, in chest-deep water, grab both sides of the pool with your arms. Then lift your legs and hold the pose, working your abdominal muscles. Twisting from side to side can also help get those oblique muscles in shape. Increasing your core strength with this kind of abdominal exercise can improve posture and increase stability, decreasing the chance of a fall.
This exercise is designed to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. In waist-deep water, jog back and forth across the pool at a comfortable speed. Low-impact aerobic exercise can help reduce the risk of heart attack and keep energy levels up.
Resistance kicking begins with a kickboard. Hold the kickboard out in front of you and gently kick to propel yourself back and forth across the pool. This is a great cardio exercise that will get your blood pumping and support lower body strength.
Leg swings improve balance by working the leg and core muscles. For this resistance exercise, stand in the pool and repeatedly lift one leg up and to the side until it feels tired; then switch legs. To activate your obliques, kick your leg backward and forward as well.
This movement uses the water’s resistance to work the shoulder, chest, and back muscles. Stand facing the pool wall with your hands flat against it in front of you. Slowly lean into the wall, bending both arms at the elbow, and then push out to return to a standing position. Repeat this motion until tired.
Exercise is important for people of all ages who wish to live a long, healthy life. The fun, low-impact movements in swimming and water aerobics are particularly beneficial for seniors, as they will help increase balance while avoiding joint damage. And, of course, having fun while working out makes it easier to stick to any fitness regimen.