You know exercising as you age offers you tremendous health benefits. Many older adults, however, find it difficult to remain active while managing soreness and stiffness in their joints and muscles. The good news is there are low-impact exercises that can keep you moving without aggravating your sore feet, knees, or back. You just need to dive into water exercises!
Whether you're taking a water aerobics class or swimming a few laps, water supports your body and provides mild resistance to strengthen your muscles. Below, we list a few of the benefits of a water workout:
- For people who have arthritis, water-based exercises improve the affected joints without further aggravating them. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with rheumatoid arthritis have more improvement and decreased pain with water therapy than with other activities.
- Water exercises can be great for your heart. Whether you're swimming or water jogging, getting your heart rate up will burn calories and reduce your risk for cardiac diseases. More exercise might also help you lose weight, reducing the stress on your body.
- In addition to reducing irritation of an existing aches and pains, water exercises offer a low risk of developing new injuries as you work out.
- The gentle resistance offered by water can build up muscle strength. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass. Maintaining muscle through resistance exercise can help improve endurance and reduce the risk of falls.
- There are water exercises to fit any workout style. If you prefer exercising in a group with an instructor, many gyms and community centers offer group classes. Kendal at Oberlin residents or Kendal at Home members can enjoy the controlled movements of water tai chi at the Kendal Fitness Center Pool. If you prefer to do your exercising alone, you can try doing laps or your own workout routine during open swim time at your community pool.
- Many people find water workouts to be as good for the mind and soul as they are for the body. Water has a calming and relaxing effect that can help you let go of depression and anxiety.
As with any new workout, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before getting started. Take it slow, and increase the intensity of your workout as your strength improves.
Want to learn more about maintaining an active lifestyle as you grow older? Download the free guide Remaining Active: How to Begin a Regular Exercise Routine.