5 Water Aerobics Exercises to Support Senior Health & Wellness
Whether you're hoping to improve your fitness, maintain a healthy weight, or find a way to exercise that protects your joints, aqua aerobics is an excellent addition to any senior wellness program. At Fleet Landing, our unique WELLInspired program incorporates water-based workouts in our vibrant schedule of exercise and wellness classes, supporting our Residents who enjoy the benefits of aqua aerobics.
Our indoor aquatic center and outdoor pool and spa provide the perfect setting to enjoy an aqua aerobics class or solo exercise session in tranquil surroundings. Take in the beautiful lakeside view from the community swimming pool and consider adding some of the following exercises to your routine to stay active while keeping cool. Check out these recommended exercises from Fleet Landing’s Exercise Physiologist, Alisa Blanchard.
1. Aqua Walking
Walking or jogging on land is an excellent way to get the heart pumping and improve your cardiovascular fitness. However, these exercises are sometimes unsuitable for senior health and wellness programs because the impact on joints can be painful for people with health conditions such as arthritis, or those recovering from an invasive procedure.
Enter aqua walking (or jogging!) — a straightforward, joint-friendly way to improve your endurance, strength, and heart health. Water buoyancy supports some of your body weight to reduce joint impact, while water resistance helps build muscle mass.
If you're new to aqua fitness, start by walking briskly through waist or chest-high water. As your fitness improves, you can increase your pace, alternating between jogging and walking to allow rest periods. Ready for more of a challenge? Try holding a foam kickboard in front of you at arm's length to boost water resistance as you move through the water.
2. Side Stepping
Side stepping in water helps strengthen your glutes, thighs, and calves, and it's a great beginner exercise at the start of your senior health and wellness journey. Stand with your toes facing forward and take 20 steps to the side, keeping your back straight and bringing your feet together on each step. Next, repeat your steps in the opposite direction.
Aiming for two sets of side steps in each direction is an achievable target for most people. However, it's essential to take things at a comfortable pace for you. Those with balance issues may find it helpful to perform side steps holding the side of the pool for stability.
We do not recommend resistance side-stepping if you’ve had a hip replacement. It’s important to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise to make sure it’s right for you.
3. Single-Leg Balancing
Balancing on one leg in the pool is an effective technique for improving your balance and enhancing muscle tone in your lower body. Begin with one foot planted on the pool floor and raise the other leg until your knee reaches hip height. Hold the position for as long as you can before placing your foot back on the floor — over time, you may find that you can increase the duration with your leg raised up to 30 seconds. Begin with five repetitions per leg, potentially increasing to 10 reps as your balance and strength improve.
Tweaking this exercise can make it easier and more accessible for beginners. Some people find it helpful to loop a pool noodle under their knee and hold on to the ends to support their raised leg. If you're worried about overbalancing, try standing perpendicular to the pool wall and holding the side for support.
You'll need to grab a pool noodle or two and move to deeper water to start leg bicycling. Placing the noodles behind your back and placing your arms on the ends helps keep you afloat and safe while you exercise. You can then cycle your legs under the water (just like riding a bike!) for intervals of up to 5 minutes to build cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, and endurance.
5. Flutter Kicking
Flutter kicking is a fun and low-impact exercise for increasing your heart rate without putting too much strain on your body. You can perform this exercise using a kickboard or holding on to the side of the pool for support.
Once you've chosen your support, kick your legs upward until your body is parallel to the pool floor with your head above the water. Kick your legs in rapid fluttering motions to propel yourself through the water or create resistance if you're exercising at the side of the pool. Aim for a pace you can comfortably maintain for a few minutes without feeling too fatigued.
Learn More About Our Approach to Wellness
An in-person visit to Fleet Landing is the best way to learn about our innovative approach to wellness for seniors and discover our outstanding aqua fitness facilities. Speak to one of our friendly team members at 904.748.2252 or book an appointment online.