Water aerobics offers fitness alternative for older community

  • Published
  • By Capt. Cody Butler and Senior Airman Jessica StCyr
  • 78th Medical Operations Squadron
Today there are more than 40 million adults in the United States ages 65 and older, but just one in four exercise regularly. 

Common concerns of achy joints, cardiovascular problems, fear of falling, being too out of shape or not being able to keep up with the younger crowd in the gym reduce many individuals to only walking to stay active. 

While there's nothing wrong with walking, let's face it, Georgia heat can be brutal. 

Besides, you can only walk laps around the mall or WalMart so many times before you're asked to leave.

Instead, one can beat the heat and still exercise regularly by visiting a local pool. 

According to the Aquatic Exercise Association, exercising in water puts less stress on problematic bone and joint areas and provides cardiovascular support by increasing the heart rate and influencing blood flow. Water also provides natural resistance that helps build strength while improving balance and flexibility.

Water aerobics is not only a fun way to exercise and stay cool, but it's also known to be used as therapy for individuals with medical conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Rheumatoid arthritis. 

Although some local facilities have water aerobics classes, here are four easy ways to make a splash and build strength on your own:

Aqua walking/jogging - walk or jog from one side of the pool to the other in a shallow body of water. 

Water Jacks - similar to jumping jacks; begin in an upright position in waist deep water and jump once to bring your legs out and once more to bring them back together.

Raise your arms above your head or up to the surface of the water.

Flutter Kicks - Holding on to the edge of the pool, lay flat on your stomach and make your back as straight as possible. Alternate kicking your feet for 15-30 seconds. To make it more challenging, increase the speed of the kicks. 

Use your imagination. For example, for legs, try performing slow and controlled high knees or balancing on one leg. For arms, try circles in the water. Be sure to check with your primary care physician before attempting new exercises, and always remember to stretch before and after exercising.  

For more information on water aerobics classes at the Robins Fitness Center, call 478-926-2128.