Pool Exercises for Seniors
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to be less active. Seniors looking to keep moving and get some quality exercise throughout the week can benefit from the advantages of exercising in the pool. Not only does the water provide the necessary resistance for working out your muscles and joints, it also provides a low-impact environment for doing so--a benefit to seniors with arthritis and joint pain.
To strengthen the muscles in your upper legs, try the leg swing. Stand at the side of the pool with the water up to at least your lower back. Hold on to the edge of the pool and swing your outside leg forward as far as you can, keeping your leg straight. Hold for five seconds, then swing your leg back behind you and hold for another five seconds. Repeat both motions 10 to 15 repetitions
Find a pool noodle or a similar flotation device that will fit around the bottom of your foot. Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it up so your upper leg is parallel with the water and your lower leg forms a 90-degree angle. Place the flotation device around your foot and push down until your leg is straight. Slowly bring your leg back up and bend at the knee again for one repetition. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times, then switch the flotation device to the other foot and repeat for your other leg.
Go to a section of the pool where the water is up to your neck. Stand next to the edge of the pool for safety in case you need to catch your balance. Put one foot out in front of you and the other behind for extra balance. Raise your arms out to your side so they are just below water level. Keep your arms straight and your palms down as you making circling motions with your arms. Do 10 to 15 seconds in one direction, then stop and reverse the direction of the circles for another 10 to 15 seconds.
For an effective abdominal exercise, find a corner of the pool where the water is about chest-deep. Put both arms on the edge of the pool to support your weight. Put your legs together and use your abdominal muscles to pull your legs toward your chest, bending at the knees. Repeat 10 to 15 times, then rest. You can mix this exercise and work out your oblique muscles—the muscles in your love handle area—by twisting your lower body and knees toward the right and left alternately as you perform the exercise.
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.