During periods of extreme heat in the summer months, staying active can be a challenge for older adults who are more vulnerable to heat stroke and dehydration. But local community centers with pools offer a number of water aerobics exercise programs that can help seniors maintain muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.
If you are lucky enough to have a pool in your yard or living community, there are many online water aerobic classes you can follow alone, or with a group of friends. Community centers with pools also offer water aerobics, salsa, and underwater running or cycling programs that help older adults stay fit, keep off extra weight and enjoy social interaction. Aquatic exercises are easier on the joints, and in the heat of summer, are a cool and comfortable way to stay fit.
According to research, aqua aerobic exercise for older adults resulted in a significant reduction in body weight and fat mass, increased leg strength, improved gait, and helped to reduce the risk of falling. Falls are a leading cause of injury and hospitalization among older adults, and can often precipitate a loss of independence.
Aqua Salsa class not your cup of tea? Swimming is also a joint-friendly activity that helps older adults stay active when pain, injuries, or extra weight may make walking difficult. A regular swimming regimen can help improve lung function, lower cholesterol levels, build muscle, and improve physical and cognitive function. If it’s been a minute since you swam lengths, you can brush up on your technique, and learn some new tips by visiting U.S. Masters Swimming.
As with any new exercise program, talk first with your doctor, and start off slowly gradually increasing intensity and duration. Most of all – have fun! If you choose an activity you enjoy, you will be far more likely to stick with it and reap all the health benefits of staying fit and socially connected.