Swimming Pools Make Workouts for Seniors Safe, Accessible and Fun  

by Pool Builders on 09-03-2007 in Articles

When it comes to "leveling the playing field" for seniors looking to stay fit through exercise, the backyard swimming pool may be just the ticket for leaving that traditional field behind. That's because exercise in a swimming pool--whether it's aqua therapy, water aerobics or simply working through traditional land-based exercises--offers benefits to seniors that can't be found anywhere else other than the pool.

Water workouts help to build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance--and exercise the heart with less strain than in land-based workouts. The key is the natural buoyancy water provides to help seniors create workouts that are truly low-impact in swimming pools. A water environment is ideal for seniors recovering from procedures like joint replacements and surgeries, can lessen the pain of arthritis during exercise, and is an overall great way to promote fitness.

This buoyancy, coupled with water's natural resistance to movement, promotes even, smooth and gentle range-of-motion exercise that allows a senior to safely test limitations--all while increasing range of motion and overall strength and flexibility of joints, muscles and tendons. Many traditional land-based stretching exercises can also be done in a swimming pool, increasing both the quality and the safety of the workout.

The type and intensity of swimming pool exercises for seniors varies--from walking the length of the pool, walking backwards, and jogging in place, to lunges, jumping jacks, frog kicks, even cross-country skiing. Participants can seek out water-based exercise classes (water aerobics and aqua therapy) in local swimming pools and then bring those routines home with them--complete with a warm-up and cool-down period that should be built into all workouts on land or in water.

Exercise periods in a swimming pool can be brief but beneficial--start by targeting twenty minutes per session, at least three times a week, to promote regular fitness benefits and gradually increase cardiovascular health.

While an exercise program--even in a swimming pool--needs to be cleared by a physician, there's almost no limit to what you can do in the water once you've taken the exercise plunge, no matter what your age!

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