Making a splash in water aerobics

Mar 2, 2012, 6 a.m.

Whether you're reacquainting yourself with exercise, recovering from an injury, taking it easy on your joints, or just wanting to make a splash, water aerobics may be the fitness choice for you. Along with walking, a water aerobics routine is often recommended largely because it's not a high impact exercise that puts stress on the bones, muscles and joints.

A recent study at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that older women who participated in regular water exercise had higher levels of strength, agility, flexibility, and also saw improvement in their total cholesterol levels.

Water aerobics is a fun activity that's not only good for your body, but also good for your mind. There is a social component to this group exercise. Many health clubs have classes specifically geared toward seniors and that are taught by instructors who are aware of potential health issues that sometimes come with being older. They can help you modify a routine to suit your ability.

Because the exercises occur in the water, the body is kept cool, and yet the water resistence helps to burn plenty of calories. For those used to land exercise, a water aerobics routine is a nice change from the normal routine.

Although water aerobics is generally safe for older adults, use precaution, as with any exercise program. Participants should check in with their doctor and get the green light before beginning any new exercise regimen. General safety tips also include being careful around slippery surfaces around the pool area, and staying hydrated and wearing sunblock when exercising outdoors in the sun and heat. And in case something does go wrong, make sure a lifeguard is on duty.

If you're looking for a refreshing way to jazz up your senior fitness routine, water aerobics is a great option. One of the most popular offerings at health clubs today is Aqua Zumba, which fuses Latin beats and heart-pumping music with the water-based dance routine. Most health clubs with an aquatics department have signature offerings. Be sure to check them out!

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