Physical activity is good for the heart, lungs, muscles, and minds of older adults. However, it can be hard on well-worn joints and bones, as well as a hazard for seniors who may be less flexible and prone to falls.
“Exercise is very important for seniors to stay strong, healthy, and happy. But you have to choose exercises that are both safe and effective.”
Water aerobics may be the perfect answer. RehabCare Wellness Coordinator Megan Funke teaches water aerobics for seniors twice a week during the warm weather months in the pool at Bethesda Barclay House, an independent retirement living community in Clayton, Mo. She said the program is extremely popular with an enthusiastic group in attendance.
“We have a loyal group of residents who can’t wait for it to be summertime so they can get in the pool,” Megan said. “Water aerobics is very liberating for seniors because, in addition to being comfortable, the water eliminates the concern about falls and other associated with other types of workouts.”
6 Benefits of Water Aerobics for Seniors
- Increases flexibility and improves heart and lung function
- Builds strength with gentle resistance from the water
- Helps with balance and reducing the risk of injury from falls
- Relieves joint pain as well as symptoms of arthritis and blood circulatory problems
- A popular activity that is not limited to any age group or skill level
- Provides a sense of well-being and accomplishment
Safety Tips for Water Aerobics Participants
- Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
- Make sure someone else is in the pool during your workout, whether it’s an instructor, a lifeguard, or a friend.
- Don’t overdo it. If you feel dizzy, nauseated or tired, it’s time to get out of the water.
- If you’re not a good swimmer, or if you’re recovering from any sort of injury, stick to the shallow end of the pool.
- Become familiar with the facilities before you enter the pool. Learn the depth of the water and the location of the pool’s ladders and stairs.
Water Aerobics for Seniors at Bethesda
Mary Jo Napper, a resident of Bethesda Barclay House and a longtime participant in the water aerobics classes, said the twice-a-week sessions are one of her favorite activities.
“I did water aerobics even before they started to offer it here at Barclay House,” Mary Jo said. “So I was thrilled when they started to offer the program here just steps away from my door. I do yoga and other exercise classes over the winter months, and they’re fun. But I always look forward to getting back in the pool as soon as the weather gets warm enough.”
Napper said she always feels refreshed and strong after a workout in the pool. And she said she enjoys having the opportunity to do something both fun and constructive with her friends and neighbors.
Bethesda’s Independent Retirement Living Communities throughout St. Louis offer a wide range of activities to keep seniors healthy and active. Schedule a tour at a community near you, or contact us for more information.