Make A Splash This Summer With Water Exercises
As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to stay active and maintain the amount of exercise we really need for our general health. Difficulty in staying active can be contributed to several factors; Arthritis, Osteoporosis, chronic pain and more. If it’s not one thing, it’s another right? For seniors suffering from any of these debilitating conditions or find it hard to exercise, there is a method of exercise that could work for you! Now that it’s closer to summertime, let’s explore the benefits of exercising – pool-side.
Exercising in the pool (many call it aquatic aerobics) is a low-impact and fun way to maintain muscle mass, improve balance, relieve pain, improve circulation and control swelling of certain parts of your body. The buoyancy properties of water make exercising easier and safer to perform, too. Also, it’s FUN! You can exercise pool-side independently or with a group – however YOU are most comfortable and safe. We’ve put together a list of simple exercises you can try this summer in your own pool, or at the several community pools available across Bryan-College Station.
Aqua jogging is a great way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing throughout your body. Whether you choose a jog through the pool from one side to another, or simply march in place, aqua jogging is an amazing aerobic, low-impact exercise to incorporate into your exercise routine. Can’t exactly jog? That’s okay! Just walk around the pool or from one end to another, and you’ll still reap the benefits from aqua jogging. This exercise is intended to get your heart rate up and maintain that heightened rate. If you’re still fairly spry and walking in the pool doesn’t seem to be challenging – kick it up a notch. Whatever method of aqua jogging you choose, be sure that it gives you something of a challenge.
If you’ve ever been in a pool, you’ve already got this exercise in the bag. Flutter kicking is yet another low-impact cardio exercise to use in the pool. You can either cling to the edge of the pool with your hands and kick your legs back, or use a kick/boogie bard to stabilize yourself while flutter kicking your way across the pool. With the edge of the pool or kickboard in hand, flutter kick your legs behind you with your head above the water. Kick a steady tempo that doesn’t wear you out immediately, but still keeps your heart pumping!
Leg Lifts | Leg Pushes
This exercise is sure to make you feel like a member of the Rockettes! Leg lifts use the resistance of water to exercise all of the muscles in the legs. While in the pool, stand and lift one leg to the side, then back down. Alternate between both legs equally. Leg lifts may work the leg muscles, but it also improves balance and strengthens your core – which is very important. Leg pushes require some sort of flotation device (a pool noodle or something similar), as long as it fits around the bottom of your foot. You begin by bending your leg at the knee, and bring it up so that your upper leg/thigh area is parallel with the water’s surface. Your lower leg (the one that’s lifted) forms a 90-degree angle. Then, you place the flotation device around the bottom of your foot and push down until your leg is straight. Repeat this for both legs equally.
Standing Water Push-ups
Now, this may sound intimidating at first, but in a pool, it’s definitely a breeze. This particular exercise builds arm, chest and shoulder strength while taking it easy on your joints. Find an open edge of the pool and place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Proceed with the exercise by bending your arms slowly and leaning in towards the wall of the pool, and push yourself back. Word of caution: do not repeat this exercise to the point of complete exhaustion – you could injure yourself by falling into the wall of the pool (or otherwise) if you push yourself past your limits.
Arm Curls | Arm Circles
As a kid, I always joined my grandmother in this exercise because it’s that simple and fun to perform. Find an open spot in the middle of the pool where you are still able to comfortably and safely stand. For arm curls, water weights are optional, but will definitely heighten your resistance and results during this exercise. Hold the weights (or just your hands) in front of you with palms facing out. Curl the weights back up and then back down slowly, repeat until your arms are tired. For arm circles, find a section of the pool where the water reaches or almost reaches your neck area, so long as you are safe and your head is completely above water. You can stand next to the edge of the pool for balance, just in case. First, you put one foot out in front of you and the other behind for even more balance. Raise your arms to your sides so they are just below water level. Keep your arms straight and palms down as you make circle motions with your arms. For the first round, circle your arms in a forward motion – then, for the second round, circle your arms in a backward motion.