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Water exercises for seniors

Finance & Planning | Sep 21, 2016



As the weather starts to cool down, you may be wondering what your exercise options are. And it's understandable because not everyone is able to withstand colder temperatures.

In other instances, certain forms of exercises may be difficult for some seniors to complete. It's no secret that as you age, your body changes. After vigorous exercises, you may need more recovery days than you did in your youth. Your joints may hurt more while in the middle of an exercise such as jogging, walking, climbing or biking.

Luckily, swimming and water exercises can replace your current workouts when the weather gets too cold or if you want to give your joints a rest.

You don't need to be an expert swimmer in order to complete a wide range of exercises. As long as there's a pool nearby, you can do laps or conduct specific workouts.

If you're looking for low impact exercises in the pool, here are some to try the next time you enter the water.

Aerobics

Water aerobics help increase your heart rate and improve the condition of your lungs and heart. Water aerobics provide the same benefits as walking or dancing.

"Water aerobics provide the same benefits as walking or dancing."

As such, aerobic exercises in the water will provide the same benefits, just without the stress on your joints. Water dancing, running and walking are all forms of water aerobics. If you're a member at a local gym or health club, check to see if there are specific classes scheduled. Working out with a group can motivate you to stick to your workout routine, not to mention the social aspect.

Strength training

Did you know you can benefit from resistance and strength training while in the pool? It's true, but you'll need some water weights.

Resistance training is beneficial because it helps protect your muscle and bone mass, Everyday Health pointed out.

When you find some water weights, start with your arms at your side. Then raise both of them by keeping your palms face-up. Then, flip your palms and push down until your arms are straight. Try this exercise for about 12 repetitions. As your strength improves, consider completing two to three sets of 12 reps.

Swimming

If you're going into a pool, swimming some laps is an age old tradition. Channeling your inner Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky is an efficient calorie burner. No matter which swimming exercise you want to do, whether it's freestyle or butterfly, your body will benefit.

According to Active.com, the actual number of calories burned per person will vary, but someone who weighs 155 lbs and swims freestyle for one hour can burn close to 704 calories by swimming fast, and 493 calories at a slower pace. Those numbers increase the more an individual weighs.

"Water exercises are a unique, fun and sometimes challenging way to keep yourself healthy."

If you're going to swim laps, you don't necessarily need to always do so for an hour. Make that hour limit a goal you want to reach, especially if you're just starting out. Working your way toward that one hour plateau will help you avoid injuries and tiring out.

Mix and match

As with any exercise, you have the freedom to choose your workouts for a specific period. One day you can focus on freestyle, while later in the week you can throw in some resistance training. At the end of the week, you can enjoy some leisurely pool time. It's important to have a few rest days so your body can recover.

No matter your fitness level, water exercises are a unique, fun and sometimes challenging way to keep yourself healthy.