Dive into Wellness – Best List of Water Exercises for Seniors

Water Aerobics, Workout Classes

Getting older is no picnic. Our joints get stiffer, our muscles tighter, and we become host to all sorts of aches and pains we never had before. Now more than ever, regular exercise is critical for maintaining muscle mass, enhancing joint health, and staving off other unpleasant effects associated with aging.

The catch-22, unfortunately, is that exercise gets harder and harder the older you get. There has to be a better way! There is; it’s called water aerobics for seniors. Pool exercises for older adults are among the most beneficial and effective for seniors to improve strength and conditioning while minimizing the stress on the body.

Today, we’re covering the benefits of exercising in water, providing water exercise routines for seniors, including step-by-step instructions for ten of the best water exercises for seniors, and much, much more. Let’s dive in!

 

The Benefits of Exercising in Water

Taking your tried-and-true workout routine into the water provides a number of benefits.

According to a 2022 review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, benefits include improvements to strength, balance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, and overall quality of life. The studies also found individuals suffering from chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia, bone diseases, coronary artery disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, reported improvements to their symptoms following a water-based training program.

A 2023 meta-analysis published in Biological Research for Nursing similarly found aquatic exercise, including aquatic exercises for seniors, were effective for improving quality of life for adults suffering from chronic back pain, alleviating pain and disability associated with the condition.

Exercising in water is particularly effective because being in water reduces the impact that exercise has on your joints, making it great for older adults with joint issues or joint-related diseases like osteoarthritis. A 2017 study published in PLoS One found that “joint forces were reduced by 36-55% in water” versus the same exercises performed on land.

So, whether you’re an older adult looking to keep fit, suffering from joint-related conditions, recovering from a joint injury, or are just looking for low-impact exercises to help you keep fit while keeping your risk of injury low, pool exercises might be just the thing for you!

 

Top 10 Water Exercises for Seniors

Here are our picks for the top ten water exercises for seniors.

 

Arm Circles

Arm circles are commonly performed during warm-ups and cooldowns because they enhance shoulder mobility, strengthen the upper body, and improve flexibility.

To perform arm circles:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend both arms out to the sides, keeping them straight.
  3. Move your arms in a circular fashion, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
  4. Continue for the desired duration or number of reps.
  5. Reverse the direction of the circles and repeat the set.

 

Arm Curls

Arm curls are great for building big biceps and improving the pulling strength of our arms.

They may feel weird at first when performing them in a pool because water dumbbells float, so your weights will really want to fly up to the water’s surface on each rep. Do your best to fight against this and control the weight’s movement in both the concentric and eccentric phases.

To perform arm curls:

  1. Stand with a lightweight water dumbbell in each hand, holding them at your waist.
  2. Curl the weights towards your shoulders, keeping the elbows pinned to your torso.
  3. Squeeze your biceps at the peak position, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down.

 

Knee Tucks

Knee tucks are exhausting on land, but doing them in a pool gives you a leg up on this challenging movement that strengthens the core, improves balance, and enhances lower body mobility.

To perform knee tucks:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one knee towards the chest while maintaining a stable posture.
  3. Slowly lower the knee back down, then lift the other.
  4. Continue for the desired duration or number of reps, alternating sides each rep.

 

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts are another good one for improving mobility, hip flexibility, and core stability. They’re typically performed while lying down, but doing that in the pool is not a good idea.

To perform leg lifts in the pool:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one leg straight up in front of you, then bring it back down. Bring the other leg up next, slowly bringing it down.
  3. Continue for the desired duration or number of reps. You may also switch your front leg lifts to lateral leg lifts by lifting the legs outward rather than forward.

 

Calf Raises

Calf raises, as the name suggests, are great for strengthening the calf muscles. Stronger calf muscles means greater ankle stability, which supports better balance and improved walking gait.

So, you’ll definitely want to work these into the routine to ensure you stay stable and mobile well into your twilight years.

To perform calf raises:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your heels off the ground, coming onto the balls of your feet.
  3. Squeeze the calves, then slowly lower yourself back down.
  4. Repeat as needed.

 

Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a full-body workout you’re going to love to hate. They strengthen the core, enhance lower abdominal muscles, and improve hip flexibility.

To perform flutter kicks:

  1. Grab the pool edge and bring your body to the water’s surface.
  2. Slowly kick your legs, alternating legs, using small, quick kicking motions. Use your core to keep your body and legs straight as you kick.
  3. Continue for the desired duration or number of reps.

 

Water Jogging

Jogging is a common way of getting your cardio outside the pool, but plodding the pavement often wreaks havoc on your knees and ankles. Don’t beat up your body any more than you already have over the past several decades; do your jogging in the pool!

Water jogging is one of the best swimming pool exercises for seniors because it provides a low-impact method for getting cardiovascular exercise, improving respiratory fitness, endurance, strength, and more.

To water jog, simply make your way into water that is chest high and start jogging, keeping your back straight and core engaged as you move. It’ll feel funny, but the rewards are well worth it.

 

Chest Fly

Chest flyes strengthen the pecs, improve upper body stability, enhance posture, and increase muscle size, strength, and endurance.

To perform chest flyes:

  1. Take a step forward to enter a split stance.
  2. Hold a light water dumbbell in either hand with your arms outstretched to your sides.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, bring your hands together in front of your body’s midline. Squeeze your chest muscles in the end position.
  4. Slowly bring your arms back out to your sides, pause, reset, and cycle into the next rep.

 

Arm Raises

Arm raises, both front and lateral, are excellent at isolating the shoulder muscles, enhancing shoulder strength, improving posture, and promoting functional upper body mobility.

To perform arm raises:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a light water dumbbell in either hand.
  2. Raise your arms to shoulder height, squeezing the shoulder muscles at the peak position, then lower them down to your waist, fighting against the water’s resistance.
  3. You may lift the weights straight in front of the body for front raises or straight out to your sides for lateral raises depending on where you wish to receive more muscle activation.
  4. Repeat as needed.

 

Hamstring Curls

Nothing’s worse than a pulled hammy! Strengthen those hamstring muscles by working hamstring curls into your water workout for seniors. Hamstring curls strengthen the hamstrings, improve knee stability, and support better overall leg function.

To perform hamstring curls:

  1. From a standing position, lift one foot toward the buttocks while keeping the knee close to the other leg. Squeeze the hamstrings and glutes at the peak position.
  2. Lower the leg back down, then do the other leg.
  3. Continue, alternating sides on each rep, for the desired duration or number of reps.

 

Workout Equipment to Use in the Pool

When you’re headed to the gym, you grab your favorite workout apparel, shoes, headphones, and other essentials. The stuff you use if you’re doing water fitness for seniors will be different, but there are still a few essentials you’ll need to get started.

At minimum, you’ll need a nice swimsuit to sport, some goggles to deal with the inevitable splashing, and maybe even a swim cap if you’d like your hair to stay dry and/or out of your eyes. Also, a plush towel doesn’t hurt to have either if the gym or pool you’re going to doesn’t provide them on site.

Water dumbbells are a good thing to have as well for the weighted exercises above, but using resistance bands is often viable as well since most resistance bands are made from rubber.

 

1. Kiefer Water Exercise Disc

Kiefer Water Exercise Disc

Check Best Price Amazon

 

2. BigBoss Sports Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells

BigBoss Sports Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells

Check Best Price Amazon

 

3. Speedo Deluxe Ventilator Mesh Swim Bags

Speedo Deluxe Ventilator Mesh Swim Bags

Check Best Price Amazon

 

4. ANLUKE Water Shoes

ANLUKE Water Shoes

Check Best Price Amazon

 

5. Sunlite Sports Swimming Kickboard

Sunlite Sports Swimming Kickboard

Check Best Price Amazon

 

 

 

Water Exercise Routines for Seniors

Taking an aqua aerobics for seniors class or something similar will provide a structure to your water aerobics as well as the experience of a certified group fitness instructor, but what if your Google search of “senior water aerobics near me” turns up no local results?

You can still get a great water workout at any old swimming pool so long as you use our above ten swimming pool exercises. Here’s a sample pool workout you can try:

  • Arm Circles: 60 seconds forward
  • Arm Curls: 20 reps each arm
  • Knee Tucks: 20 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 20 reps each leg
  • Calf Raises: 20 reps each leg
  • Flutter Kicks: 30 seconds
  • Water Jogging: 60 seconds
  • Chest Fly: 20 reps
  • Arm Circles: 60 seconds backwards
  • Front Arm Raises: 20 reps
  • Hamstring Curls: 20 reps each side
  • Lateral Arm Raises: 20 reps

 

If you’re feeling saucy, run through this set two or three times to really get in a great workout. Performing these water aerobics exercises for seniors with minimal rest in between will provide a full-body workout that helps you build muscle size, strength, and endurance.

 

Aqua Fitness Classes Can be Beneficial!

The easiest way to get into water fitness is to Google “aqua aerobics for seniors near me” and check out the local options in your area. Attending aqua fitness classes are very beneficial because:

  • They’re structured: No guesswork on your part. The class instructor will tell you when to do what and for how long. You can just focus on doing the movements and that’s it!
  • They’re instructor led: Having an experienced instructor also gives you the benefit of their guidance. They can weigh in on your form to tell you if everything looks good. They can also modify movements that may aggravate previous or existing injuries and limiting factors you have so you still get a good workout that doesn’t put you in harm’s way.
  • They provide equipment: Instead of lugging specialized equipment to your local pool, sign up for aqua aerobics for seniors and the class will likely provide everything you need during the class.
  • They’re motivating: Working out alone is great for many people, but something about working out in a group setting is more motivating. Showing up to class to see a few friendly faces helps keep you accountable and consistent, which will help you get the best results too!

 

So, stop dipping your toes in the pool already and jump in with both feet!

Zoppler is reader supported and may earn affiliate commissions from links on this page. We support and believe in all the products and services we promote and are affiliated with.

Must Reads

The Best Compound Chest Exercises for Size and Strength Gain

The Best Compound Chest Exercises for Size and Strength Gain

Whether you’re a bodybuilder or just looking to build a great beach bod, hitting those pecs on the reg helps you develop a well-rounded chest that looks fantastic while providing functional benefits in your everyday life. One of the best ways of training your chest is by incorporating compound chest exercises into your regular workout routine. Check them out below!

Unlock Leg Strength – Top 5 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

Unlock Leg Strength – Top 5 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

You have a wealth of excellent leg exercises at your disposal if you’re in the gym, but what if you’re trying to get a great leg workout from the comfort of home? How can you make great gains in leg strength and hypertrophy if you have little to no equipment at your disposal? As it would turn out, there’s a wide variety of bodyweight exercises available for all the major muscle groups of the legs, including your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Today, we’re covering the Top 5 bodyweight hamstring exercises that’ll make those hammies squeal!

The Ultimate Suicides Exercise Tutorial For Explosive Results

The Ultimate Suicides Exercise Tutorial For Explosive Results

If you’re looking for a powerful full body workout that trains your endurance and burns tons of calories, look no further than a suicides workout. The suiciides exercise drills have been used for years to train for sports, but the benefits go way past the football field. Let’s take a look at how this powerful drill can be incorporated into any fitness routine to improve both physical and mental stamina.

Take Control – Download Our Free Printable Carpal Tunnel Exercises PDF

Take Control – Download Our Free Printable Carpal Tunnel Exercises PDF

Research shows that roughly 9% of the population suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but the number is likely much higher as mild cases seldom get reported. As our lives become more inundated with typing and phone usage, the risk of developing this kind of pain gets higher. If you are living with pain from CTS, there are steps you can take to lessen the symptoms and ease your suffering. With our printable carpal tunnel exercise PDF, you can stay consistent and see results.

Share it

Related Posts

Get Ripped – 5 Best Calisthenics Ab Exercises For Core Strength

Get Ripped – 5 Best Calisthenics Ab Exercises For Core Strength

While we all want glorious six-pack abs, studies show that less than 5% of people are anywhere near achieving them. The truth is, it takes a combination of hard work and specific dieting to reveal the muscles hiding under your belly. Before you go out and spend tons of money on gym memberships and equipment, you should know that there’s an immensely powerful way to work out your abs from anywhere: Calisthenics. Let’s take a look at the most effective calisthenics ab exercises for carving out your six pack from home.

The Best Compound Chest Exercises for Size and Strength Gain

The Best Compound Chest Exercises for Size and Strength Gain

Whether you’re a bodybuilder or just looking to build a great beach bod, hitting those pecs on the reg helps you develop a well-rounded chest that looks fantastic while providing functional benefits in your everyday life. One of the best ways of training your chest is by incorporating compound chest exercises into your regular workout routine. Check them out below!

Unlock Leg Strength – Top 5 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

Unlock Leg Strength – Top 5 Bodyweight Hamstring Exercises

You have a wealth of excellent leg exercises at your disposal if you’re in the gym, but what if you’re trying to get a great leg workout from the comfort of home? How can you make great gains in leg strength and hypertrophy if you have little to no equipment at your disposal? As it would turn out, there’s a wide variety of bodyweight exercises available for all the major muscle groups of the legs, including your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Today, we’re covering the Top 5 bodyweight hamstring exercises that’ll make those hammies squeal!

The Ultimate Suicides Exercise Tutorial For Explosive Results

The Ultimate Suicides Exercise Tutorial For Explosive Results

If you’re looking for a powerful full body workout that trains your endurance and burns tons of calories, look no further than a suicides workout. The suiciides exercise drills have been used for years to train for sports, but the benefits go way past the football field. Let’s take a look at how this powerful drill can be incorporated into any fitness routine to improve both physical and mental stamina.

Take Control – Download Our Free Printable Carpal Tunnel Exercises PDF

Take Control – Download Our Free Printable Carpal Tunnel Exercises PDF

Research shows that roughly 9% of the population suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but the number is likely much higher as mild cases seldom get reported. As our lives become more inundated with typing and phone usage, the risk of developing this kind of pain gets higher. If you are living with pain from CTS, there are steps you can take to lessen the symptoms and ease your suffering. With our printable carpal tunnel exercise PDF, you can stay consistent and see results.

Overcome Pain – A Full Body Workout With Herniated Disc Issues

Overcome Pain – A Full Body Workout With Herniated Disc Issues

Incorporating physical activity into your routine can be a daunting prospect when you’re dealing with herniated disc issues, but it’s not impossible. With the right approach, exercise can actually play a crucial role in managing and alleviating pain associated with this condition. In this article, we’ll explore how you can complete a full body workout with herniated disc pain. By focusing on strengthening and stabilizing key muscle groups, this workout aims to improve flexibility, reduce discomfort, and enhance overall quality of life for those navigating the challenges of disc herniation.