Cool Pool Exercises for Seniors on Hot Summer Days

July 13, 2023
July 11, 2023

Summer is here, and on some of the hotter days you may really be considering putting your outside exercise routine on ice until fall!  

Instead, why not move it to the pool?  

Exercising in the pool is a great way for older adults to reach their fitness goals. Pool exercises for seniors are low-impact, swimming is aerobic exercise, and the water keeps the body cool and comfortable in the summer.  

To help you get started, here are some of our favorite pool exercises for seniors.

Benefits of Pool Exercises for Seniors

It’s no secret how important it is for seniors to stay active, and regular exercise is certainly a key. Exercising in water is a great way to get in a full-body workout that strikes just the right balance of low-impact and high resistance. Here are some of the specific benefits of pool exercises for seniors:

  • Reduced joint pain – Water pressure exerted on the body when in the pool helps reduce swelling, increases range of motion, and can reduce blood collection in the extremities to help with joint pain.
  • Improved heart and lung function – Movement in water can promote blood flow to the heart and lungs and reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Increased body strength and flexibility – In pool exercises, the water provides resistance that can help build muscle strength for seniors. It also improves flexibility in your neck, arms, legs, and hips which helps with posture, balance, and coordination and reduces your risk of injury.
  • Increased bone strength – Loss of density causes bones to weaken as we age; however, muscle movements that constrict and loosen during swimming can increase muscle strength, thereby strengthening your bones.
  • Keeping weight in check – Pool exercises are one of the best ways to burn body fat as you expend more energy when moving through water. This can help seniors lose and/or maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Keeping you toned – Seniors can have toned bodies, too! Pool exercises are ideal for achieving that, as these resistance activities are similar to dance aerobics but have less impact on the joints.
  • Reducing stress – Exercising causes the body to release endorphins which reduces stress, and pool exercise is no different. Not to mention the social interaction found when you’re at the pool also helps reduce stress.

7 Pool Exercises for Seniors

Let’s get some safety reminders out of the way first; remember to talk to your doctor before beginning any new pool exercise routine, and never swim alone. Now, here are our 7 favorite pool exercises for seniors. Options include full-body, lower-body, and upper-body exercises such as:

  1. Jogging in water – The goal is to work hard enough to get your heart pumping and blood flowing, without overdoing it, of course. Start with walking, going from one side to the other, and gradually increase your speed to a jog as your fitness level improves.
  1. Leg lifts – This pool exercise for seniors not only helps in strengthening leg muscles but also in improving your balance and strengthening your core. While standing in waist-high water, lift one leg sideways and lower it. Do this until that leg is tired, then switch to the other leg.
  1. Arm curls – This pool exercise for seniors helps develop and maintain upper body strength, but you’ll need a pair of water weights. Start with your palms facing either out or toward you, and hold the weights out. Do an arm curl up and then down. Continue until your arms are tired.
  1. Flutter kicks – This low-impact cardio pool exercise can be done with or without a kickboard. With a kickboard, flutter kick with your legs, going back and forth from one side to the other while holding onto the kickboard. Hold onto the side of your pool without a kickboard while floating and keeping your head above the water. Perform flutter kicks steadily to get your heart rate up without overdoing it.
  1. Leg swings – Stand in the water up to your lower back and hold on to the side of the pool. Keeping the leg straight, swing it forward and hold the position for five seconds. Perform the exercise with the other leg. Repeat twelve times.
  1. Water push-ups – This pool exercise for seniors helps to strengthen your arms, shoulders, and chest without undue stress on your joints. Put your hands on the pool’s edge a little farther apart than the width of your shoulders. While bending your arms, lean toward the wall. Then, straighten your arms and push back out. Go slowly and repeat until your arms tire.  
  1. Arm circles – Begin with slow movements, but once you work up to doing this pool exercise at a faster speed, you’ll strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and heart. Stand in the water up to your neck but stay close to the wall for balance, if needed. Place one foot before you and one behind you. Lift your arms out straight, palms down, until they are just below the water’s surface. Move your arms in a circle for 10 to 15 seconds in one direction. Then repeat in the other direction for 10 to 15 seconds.

Staying Active in Senior Living

If you don’t have access to a pool in your neighborhood or home, visiting a community pool is another option during the summer. However, exercising in the pool is a great way to stay active all year round. In fact, many senior living communities have indoor pools. The indoor pool in the Residents’ Center on Friendship’s North Campus is one such pool that our residents can enjoy no matter what the weather outside!

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