The Best Pool Exercises For Seniors

30 Minute Workouts, Fitness, Workouts, Workouts by Length

By: // June 18, 2021


If you haven’t given water workouts a try, you’re missing out on one of the best low-impact workouts you can do!  Swimming and water aerobics are the ideal way to get your heart rate up while being easy on your joints. The buoyancy of water lessens the pull of gravity, making you feel lighter and more balanced, while also reducing the impact on your knees. This also makes the same moves that would be difficult to do on land feel easier in the pool. Water aerobic exercises are a great option for seniors who have problems with balance, sciatica pain or issues with their joints including arthritis. However, pool exercises for seniors isn’t just for seniors, this is a water workout that anyone can (and should!) do!

The below water workouts for seniors will help to burn calories and build strength at the same time by combining high-intensity cardio moves with plyometric exercises. In less than 30 minutes you’ll blast fat and add muscle—no swim caps required.

A 30-minute pool workout download PDF

Benefits of Water Aerobics

There are so many reasons to take your workout to the pool this summer (not to mention it offers you a way to get outdoors)! Water aerobic exercise helps you burn fat, build stamina, and is easy on your joints.

Next time you’re feeling bored with your elliptical or walking workout routine and want a fun, new challenge, remind yourself of the benefits of pool workouts:

1. It’s Low Impact

It’s not just seniors that benefit from the low-impact option water workouts provide. Whether you suffer from joint pain, you’re just getting back into exercise after some time off, or you simply want a lower-impact form of exercise to offset some higher-impact activities you do (running, HIIT workouts), water workouts are perfect for you.

2. But Offers Added Resistance

Women doing a water workout in the pool

 

Still, don’t confuse low-impact with low intensity; the water acts as natural resistance for each of your moves. Resistance in water can be anywhere from 4 to 42 times greater than on land, making a pool or body of water a natural weight training machine! Unlike machines, though, water provides resistance to movement in any direction.

3. Burns Mega Calories

Because of the added resistance in the water, you’re actually working harder than you would on land to complete the same movement, even if it doesn’t feel like that.

Seniors who incorporate pool exercise can effectively burn more calories than land exercise when doing the same movements (walking, for example). Plus, water workouts combine strength movements with cardio, and we all know that when your workout combines cardio and strength, it’s more effective at helping you lose weight.

4. Builds Cardio Endurance

Not only will you tone muscle with water workouts, but you also increase your cardio endurance. When you’re in cooler water, your blood moves through your body quicker in order to warm you up. When you pair that with aerobic exercise, you get improved cardiovascular endurance, yet another reason why water aerobics is so great for seniors!

5. Makes You More Flexible

The way your body moves through water, when paired with the resistance it provides, naturally stretches out your muscles. Whether you’re not naturally flexible or you have a limited range of motion due to a recent injury, arthritis, or other conditions, water workouts can help increase your flexibility over time.

Related: Your Anti Aging Arms Routine (With Push-Up Alternatives)

Water Aerobics Equipment

When it comes to water workouts, it can be helpful to make use of water aerobics equipment. Here are a few of our favorite items to use for a pool workout. 

Resistance Band

A resistance band is a great piece of equipment for water aerobics. While the water does act as natural resistance, a resistance band can provide an additional boost. I like SPRI’s Xertube ($15).

Water Weights

Water weights, or pool weights, are just dumbbells that are made for the water. You can use them just as you would use dumbbells in a normal strength workout. Try bicep curls, flyers, shoulder shrugs or lateral raises with water weights in the pool for some great strength-building exercises.

Waterproof Watch/Timer

If pool exercises are something you take advantage of on a regular basis, a waterproof water or timer can be another great piece of equipment for water aerobics. The below pool exercises for seniors are timed and thus, it’s convenient to have a waterproof time-piece that can count for you. 

Below you will find two separate pool workouts for seniors. One uses water aerobic equipment while the other does not, so no matter what you have (or don’t have), there is still a great pool workout for you. 

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30-Minute Pool Workout For Seniors

Now that you know the amazing benefits of taking your workout to the water and some useful water aerobic equipment, it’s time to dive into this 30-minute pool workout for seniors that will blast fat and build muscle. 

What You’ll Need:

  • A pool, or other water source, where you can stand in chest-deep water
  • A resistance band
  • A waterproof watch, timer, or heart-rate monitor to time sets

How To:

  • Start with a 2-minute warm-up of treading water or easy swimming.
  • Do each circuit three times.
  • Between each circuit, do 1 minute each of cardio moves (included over on the full workout at Prevention.com!)
  • Cool down with 1 minute of full-body stretching.

Total workout time: 30 minutes

CIRCUIT 1

1. Tick-Tock With Upright Row
Targets: Legs, shoulders, upper back, abs

Chris Freytag demonstrating pool exercises for seniors

Stand on band with both feet, right handle in left hand and left handle in right hand (a). Lift right leg out to side, pulling handles toward shoulders (b). Return to start, and repeat with opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for 1 minute to complete 1 set.

2. Squats To Overhead Shoulder Press
Targets: Legs, butt, shoulders, abs

Chris Freytag demonstrating pool exercises for seniors: overhead shoulder press

Stand on band with both feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding one handle in each hand. Squat as though sitting down in an imaginary chair, keeping knees behind toes (a). Pause; stand up, pressing hands overhead (b). Repeat for 1 minute to complete 1 set.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide To Swimming

CIRCUIT 2

3. Chest Fly
Targets: Chest, shoulders, abs

Chris Freytag demonstrating pool exercises for seniors: chest fly

Stand with right foot 2 to 3 feet in front of left foot, left foot on top of band, holding handles at chest level with elbows bent (a). Press handles forward, extending arms in front of chest (b). Return to start, and continue for 1 minute to complete 1 set.

4. Overhead Pull With Knee Lift
Targets: Arms, shoulders, back, abs, legs

Chris Freytag demonstrating pool exercises for seniors: overhead pull knee lift

Start with arms extended overhead, shoulder-width apart, one handle in each hand and band wrapped around hands to reach desired resistance. Lift left knee (a). Lower hands toward water while pulling band out to sides, squeezing shoulder blades together. Simultaneously switch legs, lifting right knee (b). Repeat for 1 minute to complete 1 set.

For the rest of this workout, go to Prevention.com! 

No-Equipment Pool Workout For Seniors

Don’t have a resistance band, or just want another pool workout to save up for a sunny day? Try the below no-equipment pool workout for seniors. We also have a great water aerobics video that details each move.

How To:

Perform the designated amount of time or reps as indicated below. Repeat 2 or 3 times for a solid workout!

The Moves

Exercise #1:  Twisters

  1. Start by standing with both feet together.
  2. Jump and tuck both knees into your chest, while tucking twisting towards one side first.
  3. Jump back in the center and twist to the opposite side with the same movement.
  4. Continue jumping and twisting knees into opposite side, using the oblique and core muscles to bring the knees into the chest. 

Perform this move for 30 seconds. Take a 30-second rest and repeat x 3 sets. It is important to note that jumping in a pool is low impact. It does not impact your joints like it does on land.

Targets: Legs, Core and Obliques 

Exercise #2: Core Rotators

  1. Start by firmly planting the feet a little wider than hip-width distance apart in a half squat position. 
  2. Stretch arms out long in front of you, pressing the palms firmly together. 
  3. Twist the arms across the body, by using the obliques to rotate to one side. 
  4. Twist towards the opposite side by rotating the obliques and pushing against the resistance of water with your arms stretched long. 

Rotate from side to side for 30 seconds to work the core, take a 30-second rest and repeat x 3 sets. 

Targets: Core and Obliques  

Exercise #3: Leg Lifts

  1. Start by going into the corner of a pool so you can use the ledge for upper body support. 
  2. Place your upper body outside of the pool on top of the ledge. 
  3. Firmly press the entire back against the wall of the pool. 
  4. Use your upper body and core strength to lift the legs up and down. 

Lift and lower the legs for 30 seconds at a time. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat x 3 sets. You will find that the pool creates resistance as you lift and lower your legs back down. 

Trainer Tip: try to keep the back touching the wall of the pool the entire time to protect your back and use the abdominals. 

Targets: Lower Abdominals 

Exercise #4: Crunches

  1. Begin by placing the legs on top of the pool deck. 
  2. Place your hands behind your head. 
  3. Engage the lower abdominal muscles and squeeze your shoulders to lift out of the water. 
  4. Release and lower yourself back down to the starting position. 

Repeat for 15 reps each x 3 sets. In between sets, take a 30-second rest to come off the wall and return back to the wall to complete the next set. 

Trainer Tip: this range of motion can be very small, but very effective. Keep your elbows wide and squeeze the center core to lift and lower! 

Targets: Core

 

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Non-Running Cardio Workouts For Bad Knees


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

17 Comments


on July 9, 2021 at 12:15 PM Reply

Hi, I have MS and I would love to get stronger. Do you have any more exercises for someone with MS? Either in the water or out?


    on July 15, 2021 at 2:25 PM Reply

    Well everybody’s MS is different. And everybody has different degrees. I have worked with some who are still doing every day normal impact activities. And I also have worked with a few women who need low impact or even seated workouts. Depending on your situation we do have a lot of low impact workouts, we also have yoga and flexibility workouts which are super friendly to auto immune diseases. We also have chair workouts and indoor walking workouts. So as you can see there’s a variety. Check it out at www.gethealthyutv.com. We always give a deal for the first year of membership if this is something that interests you!


on July 8, 2021 at 5:50 AM Reply

Is there a waterproof watch that will a pedometer that will count your steps in the water?


    on July 8, 2021 at 10:19 PM Reply

    Hi Sheryl - so you would want to do some searching on the internet and compare/ contrast some of the waterproof watches out there depending on what you are looking for. But after doing some research on waterproof watches here are the ones that are recommended to be the best: Garmen Forerunner 735XT Polar M430 Apple Watch Series 5 (this is good for swimming, but not sure if it will be accurate in counting steps in the water)


on July 7, 2021 at 1:11 PM Reply

Can you share what type of shoe she is wearing in photos please?


    on July 8, 2021 at 9:20 PM Reply

    Hi Cheri - Yes these are the Nike Winflo 7's. They are my favorite shoes to wear for any type of physical activity!


on August 23, 2018 at 8:25 PM Reply

I am quite disappointed in the free 30 minute exercise promised in the download when you offer up your email address. Only 6 exercises for 2 minutes each!!!


    on August 28, 2018 at 11:57 AM Reply

    Hi Paul - we're so sorry about that! You are right - the download should have more instructions on how to reach 30 minutes of exercise. We will revise - thanks!


on June 25, 2018 at 9:04 PM Reply

Do you have a print out for the exercise without the band?


    on June 27, 2018 at 9:31 AM Reply

    Hi Ashley - We don't have an official print out but here is the workout: Do 1 minute of each exercise with 1 minute rest in between each exercise. Repeat 2 or 3 times for a solid workout! 💧 Twisters 💧 Core Rotators 💧 Leg Lifts 💧 Crunches


on May 16, 2018 at 1:24 AM Reply

This is great, my wife does benefit from these exercises, and she feels energised after being in the pool. My self I just swim breast stroke, frog crawl alternately. Thank you. I live in Cyprus now and you can't swim outside all year in England, here you can.


on July 22, 2017 at 3:48 AM Reply

Thank you for the inspiration. Would you happen to have any work-out suggestions using other aqua equipment such as aqua dumbbells and aqua cuffs? I would highly appreciate it.


    on July 26, 2017 at 9:49 AM Reply

    You can always try exercises that you'd do with regular dumbbells such a bicep curls, flyers, shoulder shrugs and lateral raises!


on May 26, 2017 at 2:17 PM Reply

Perfect, thank you.


on June 26, 2016 at 11:22 AM Reply

I have arthritis in both knees beside swimming is there any other workouts I can do


    on January 7, 2018 at 11:51 PM Reply

    Swimming is great for arthritis. I also recommend doing at least a half hour of various water exercises using water dumbbells, noodles or just your own body as resistant Training in the pool. I instruct a water fitness class and find many benefits to using water with equipment as an option to land exercises. Check out the many posts on Pinterest. They are extremely helpful.


    on June 30, 2016 at 9:30 PM Reply

    Yes - sometimes yoga can feel really good with arthritis. Also low impact cardio like an elliptical machine or a rowing machine would be great!! In addition - any upper body strength is important and good.



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