Water Aerobics

Esther SmithI have been doing water exercises for five years, led by a trained instructor. I feel these exercises have helped me maintain flexibility and my cardiovascular fitness so much so that I feel "cheated" if I have to miss a session. You do not have to be able to swim to become involved in water aerobics. You can perform the exercises in the shallow part of the pool. You can check with your local Y or Senior Center to find out if aerobics are offered in your area. Often a heated pool is available so you can continue your exercises during the winter.

Here is a list of some equipment you can use: water bells, balls, noodles, and kickboards. The instructor or facility usually provides this equipment but none is an expensive investment and can be purchased at local sports and recreation store or even a variety store in season.

Examples of water aerobic exercises include working on the upper arm and lower arm, bicycle type exercises, hip strengtheners, hand stretches, finger curls, foot stretches, elbow and knee rotations, leg toning, isometrics: the list goes on. So you can see that you can work many parts of your body with water aerobics.

Wall exercises are a type of water aerobics that keep you in touch with the side of the pool, thus always knowing where you are in space. This is helpful to the novice who may feel uncomfortable venturing into the water, not being able to "know" where you are in the pool. Using the side of the pool, you can do push offs, neck and facial stretches, shoulder stretches, lower and upper back stretches, side stretches, and even toe touches!

Here are some tips for the enjoying your time in the water:

  • Most pools have steps with a handrail for entering the pool so that you do not have to climb up and down ladders. If you are unable to negotiate steps, many pools have hoists that can hoist you in and out of the water.
  • Stay in the shallow end of the pool and stay beside the pool so that you can hold onto the side or onto a rope across the pool.
  • When you first get in, walk to warm up and get used to the water temperature.
  • Team up with a "buddy." Having a buddy can be fun, a safety measure, help you become familiar with the swimming facility and increase the odds that you will keep up your routine. After all, you cannot let your buddy down so you have to show up.
  • Ask the instructor if you can "decorate" your equipment by adding a stick on brightly colored emblem so that you can more readily find your equipment.

I hope you enjoy your time in the water. You will be surprised at how much better you will feel!

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