Staying mobile is important for everyone, irrespective of their age. Without regular exercise, designed to challenge your fitness, a person’s bone density can drop and their muscles turn into fat.
Having said that, it’s important to be careful if you’re a mature person. If you don’t exercise properly you can cause damage to your body that’ll do more harm than good.
Health problems for seniors
Unfortunately, seniors are often plagued by health problems. It’s a natural result of your body starting to wear out. However, don’t assume that because you’re plagued by arthritis and joint pain that you can’t keep fit.
Far from it.
There are many ways to keep fit that don’t involve damage to your body. Stay with me and we’ll talk about the most popular and arguably the best all-round exercise regime you can do.
Yes, you guessed it. We’re going to talk about some simple water aerobics.
Words of warning
Before we go any further in this discussion however, we obviously don’t want you to have an accident in the water, especially if you can’t swim.
Let’s just list a few things you need to be aware of before we begin talking about water workouts in general, shall we?
- Probably the most important is to have some company. Not only is it more fun to be in the water with a friend, but they can also come to your aid if things go wrong. And don’t forget, you can help them too.
- Be aware of your limits. Yes, you need to give your body a challenge when exercising, but that doesn’t mean being silly about it. One of the best advantages of water exercises is that it’s beneficial for your heart. But, if you start to feel pain, ease up a bit or have a rest by relaxing in the water or on the beach chair.
- Although we’ve all seen videos of people going for a swim in icy water as a health-giving workout. Don’t be fooled! If you aren’t used to it, you can put your body into shock. If you’re able, do these exercises in either warm water or water cool enough to encourage blood flow to the skin. Never cold water! Or at least not until you’re used to it.
- Last but not least, speak to your doctor about what you intend to do. Get advice on how your medications and your overall body fitness will react to the water aerobics and how long you should be exercising per day. Whatever you may feel like doing, it’s important to listen to medical advice every time.
Fun in the water
Probably everyone knows that swimming is one of the best workouts you can do. But how many of us realized that you don’t have to swim in the water to keep fit. Playing and gentle water aerobics can give you just as much benefit and be more fun too. Especially if you can’t swim very well.
How can seniors benefit from water exercises?
While we’re here, let’s just go over a few of the benefits you get by exercising in the water.
No matter what you do in the water, the extra buoyancy prevents high impact damage to joints. No matter how heavy you are on dry land, when you’re in the water you don’t have to support your body mass. This gives your muscles and skeleton a holiday and allows you to build up your strength and convert some of that body mass into muscle.
The gentle exercise has your heart pumping safely and encourages blood flow throughout the body. The water also prevents you from losing your balance and landing with a hard whack onto the ground. The worst that can happen is that you fall over and go underwater. If you don’t like being submerged remember to wear swimming goggles and nose clips and you should be just fine.
What types of water exercises are there?
There are many types of exercise you can do, but we’ll stick with the four most popular. Shall we?
This is probably the easiest one to do and can be the most beneficial too. It’s low impact and really gets the heart pumping. There are so many variations on this that you’re bound to find one version that suits you. Or maybe vary your program every day to prevent getting bored!
- The simplest version is to jog or march on-the-spot.
- Then we have walking to and fro in the pool.
- Finally, you can walk or jog across the pool from one side to the other.
Stand in the pool and slowly lift one leg out to the side as far as you can go. Then return your foot to the pool floor. Carry on doing this until your leg feels tired, then do it with your other leg. Simple! If you want, you can do this while holding onto the poolside and lift your legs forward and backward. This one helps to strengthen your leg muscles, is good for the hips and improves your balance. The water resistance gives you something to push against and helps prevent you from falling over.
This is another great low impact exercise to really get your heart pumping. You can do this in two ways: with a kickboard or float, and without one.
- If you use a float, hold it out in front of you and flutter your legs to push yourself across the pool.
- Without using a float, keep your head above water and hold the side of the pool. Flutter your legs as before. You won’t move much but that doesn’t matter, it’s the exercise that counts.
- Of course, if you can swim, you can do this one without holding on to anything.
This one is so simple but very effective for upper body strength. Make sure the water is deep enough to cover your lower back. Stand by the side of the pool and hold the edge with your hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly push yourself away from the side until your arms are fully extended, then pull yourself back upright. Continue with this for as long as you can, but remember your limits.
So you now know some simple yet effective water aerobic exercises you can do on your own or preferably with a friend. You can probably use these as a starting point to invent new workouts that will be just as good and maybe more fun. How about doing water pushups while holding your friend’s hands rather than the poolside? There are so many variations you can try.
So what are you waiting for? Prepare your swimsuit and let’s do some workout in the water. All you have to do is make sure you don’t overdo it and check with your doctor first.