Summertime is short so don’t waste it in a hot kitchen when cool, fresh, and…
Staying cool and fit in the heat of summer is easy for active seniors who have a pool nearby. Even seniors with mobility concerns can enjoy the buoyancy provided by water and work on staying limber and healthy. Some enjoy just swimming laps while others can participate in organized water exercise classes. But to take advantage of the pool alone or with a few friends, try these easy and simple pool exercises.
Exactly what is sounds like, water walking is simply walking in the pool at a depth that feels safe and comfortable, but is at least waist deep. Water walking takes advantage of the water’s resistance as you walk, so the deeper you go, the more of the body is working against the water. Be sure to stand straight, with shoulders back while walking because leaning into the water reduces resistance and lowers the benefits of the walk. For fun with friends try water walking races or make it a real competition by walking backward. For more tips about making the most of water walking, the livestrong.com blog, “Water Walking Exercises” is a great resource.
Step it up a notch
Once you get the hang of water walking, try water jogging. Unlike on land, jogging in the pool is low impact, so knees and ankles are safe from damage. Like water walking, the goal is to go as deep as possible while gradually increasing the speed of the jog. In or out of the water don’t forget to swing your arms with shoulders straight to maximize the routine.
Keeping legs strong is key to senior health and balance and one cool way to do that is leg lifts in the pool. There are many possible positions to assume when doing leg lifts, but for beginners, the easiest is standing in waist- to chest-high water with your back to the pool side with arms extended over the edge of the pool. Lift the leg through the water as high as possible sideways or in front and hold it for a second before returning to the standing position. Repeat at least 10 times with each leg.
For those who prefer, an aqua yoga variation of the leg lift can be performed by sitting on a stair or step with water covering the legs and half the torso. Then just lift both legs together while holding onto the step for balance. Repeat as often as possible with the goal of adding reps each time. For more about aqua yoga and instructional videos, check out, “How to do Leg Lifts in the Pool.”
Staying fit means working on both the upper and lower body so arm exercises should be part of the exercise routine. Start with bicep curls, which help not only to tone muscles, but do it without the pain of the dry-land version. To begin, stand in waist deep water with a water weight in each hand with palms down rather than up like you would do out of the water. Then simply lift the weights as slowly as possible, keeping them next to the body. This can be done one arm at a time or both arms together in repetitions of 10 or more. To see it done, check out this short YouTube video.
Another simple and effective arm exercise for seniors who are able to stand safely in chest deep water is the arm swirl. Just stand in the water with feet apart and arms outstretched in front. Then sweep your arms out and away through the water as if you are clearing the area with your arms. The more water you move the more exercise you are getting and it’s essential that the arms remain outstretched and not bent during the swirl. This YouTube video shows and explains how and why to get it right.
These are just a few of the many exercises that seniors can do in the pool to stay fit and active while keeping cool. For more good ones to try, seniorsmobility.org’s blog, “Water Aerobics Exercises for Seniors: Best Pool Exercises for Seniors” will help you make the most of summer.
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