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Why Should Grandparents and Other Seniors Choose Water Exercise?

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Foam weights and noodles can be used during water exercise to increase the benefits.

Foam weights and noodles can be used during water exercise to increase the benefits.

Photo © Junial / Dreamstime
Question: Why Should Grandparents and Other Seniors Choose Water Exercise?
Most grandchildren and many grandparents love to play in the water, but a pool can be more than a playground. It can also be a place for a safe, fun workout.
Answer:

Water exercise provides most of the benefits of other exercise without some of the drawbacks.

  • The buoyancy of water means that it's almost impossible to fall.
  • The buoyancy supports the body and reduces strain on joints. In chest-deep water, the water supports the majority of the body's weight.
  • Water exercise is feasible for overweight individuals and for those with knee, ankle and hip pain because the water helps to support the weight of the body.
  • Water exercise is feasible for those recovering from many types of surgery.
  • The water cools the body, which is important for individuals who must avoid overheating.
  • Water exercise is resistance training because water is harder to move in than air, providing many times the resistance.
  • Strength training is possible in the water through the use of foam "weights."
  • In the water, one can work on balance without fear of falling.
  • Indoor pools make exercise feasible in all seasons and weather.
  • Aerobic exercise in the water improves cardiovascular fitness.
  • A water exercise class is a good place for meeting others with similar needs.
  • Following the instructions of an instructor also engages the brain.
  • Water provides a soothing massage and increases feelings of well-being.
  • Many participants find that water exercise is great fun!

The drawbacks of aquatic exercise are few.

  • Individuals who have a fear of water may not be able to participate.
  • Due to the buoyancy of the water, water exercise does not have the positive effect on bone density conveyed by weight-bearing exercise; however, recent studies have shown that exercising in shallow water can maintain and even increase bone density.

Any person who does not know how to swim should always swim in a facility that provides lifeguards.

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