Warm Up: This stage is integral to the overall success of any training session. Participants should start from the bottom of the body, working upward and include:
- Heel-to-toe raises — This movement is important for forward propulsion when walking and helps prevent shuffling.
- Side-to-side rocking — This helps engage the hips and legs and is essential for a positive outcome on an underwater treadmill as it helps to prepare for weight shifting and side stepping patterns.
Arthritis and joint pain can make working out the last thing seniors want to do. However, water exercises can relieve arthritis and joint pain while increasing bone density and muscle mass.
Exercising in the water is great for reducing arthritis and other joint pain because it puts less stress on the joints and the buoyancy of the water helps reduce the pressure on joints. Water also acts as a form of resistance, so strength exercises can be performed in the water without heavy weights. Performing strength exercises and using resistance will increase flexibility and balance and decrease bone and muscle loss.
We suggest giving the following exercises a try, but keep these safety tips in mind: be aware of your limits, never do water aerobics alone (it’s not as fun, anyway), and speak with your doctor about how your medications and overall fitness mesh with water aerobics.
1. AQUA JOGGING
Aqua jogging is the perfect aerobic, low-impact exercise to get the heart pumping and blood flowing throughout the body.. This exercise can also be simplified to walking back and forth in the pool or jogging or marching in place.
2. FLUTTER KICKING
Flutter kicking is another great low-impact cardio exercise. This exercise can be performed with or without a kickboard.
3. LEG LIFTS
Using the resistance of the water, leg lifts work all of the muscles in the legs. For this exercise, stand in the pool and lift one leg out to the side and back down. Repeat until your leg feels tired, then switch legs and perform the exercise on the other leg. Not only does this exercise work the legs, it also improves balance and strengthens your core.
4. STANDING WATER PUSH-UPS
Water push-ups are a great way to build arm, chest, and shoulder strength without putting too much pressure on the joints. Stand along the side of the pool and place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart on the gutter or edge of the pool. Bend your arms and lean in toward the wall, then push yourself back out. Repeat this exercise slowly and until your arms feel tired. Be careful not to push it too hard until you know your limits.
5. ARM CURLS
For this exercise, stand in the middle of the pool with water weights. Water weights don’t have to be used, but they do offer extra resistance. Hold the weights in front of you, arms in front with palms facing out. Curl the weights up then back down and repeat until fatigue. This exercise can also be done with palms facing toward you instead of away with the same curling motion.