Water Aerobics For Seniors: Superb Health Benefits

When it comes to doing physical activities, there are tremendous amounts of benefits an older adult can get from them. From promoting good heart health to building strong muscles, exercises can be proven rather beneficial.

But sometimes, those exercises can be hard on the joints and put the seniors at risk of injury. But one can easily overcome that by opting for the right kind of workouts and one of those is Water Aerobics for seniors.

Yes, Water Aerobics is a fun way to indulge seniors in physical activities without putting too much strain on their bodies. Many seniors don’t have a flexible body and rigorous workouts can wear them down.

Also, seniors are more prone to falling because of their bone density and bone issues. So, it is best to indulge them in Water Aerobics as a way to keep their body working and healthy. There are tremendous health benefits that come with doing water aerobics.

The activity itself is very comfortable and the best part is that it keeps the seniors safe. Since they are already in the water, there are no chances of falling and getting injured. Moreover, water aerobics is already a popular activity among the age group.

What is water aerobics?

If you don’t know what water aerobics is then let us tell you that it is an activity, a performance related to aerobics exercise which is done in water. The preferred location for water aerobics is the swimming pool.

The best part about water aerobics is that one doesn’t need to learn actual swimming to pull it off. The exercise is done standing upright in waist-deep water. It is more or less a kind of resistance training where one can safely execute complex movements.

Water Aerobics is mostly done in a group with participants immersed in water where a trained professional leads the group. The classes mainly focus on creating an engaging and enjoyable environment along with resistance training and building endurance with music in the background. There are many different types of water aerobics. Some of them include water yoga, Zumba, aqua aerobics for seniors jog, etc.

So when it comes to indulging seniors into physical activities, water aerobics opens the door to many opportunities to retain fitness. If one wants to start from scratch and maintain a healthy lifestyle, then water aerobics can play a big role in it.

Swimming VS Running Calories

If you are specifically trying to lose weight, or get in shape, then you must be thinking whether you should go for running or swimming. Well, both are these exercises are equally beneficial but there’s a difference between calorie burns in both of them.

According to an article posted by www.shape.com, Running at a pace of seven-mile per hour for an hour can help in burning 700 calories. While swimming 50-yards per minute for an hour burns 550 calories. Also, you’d be glad to know that calories burned treading water is higher than walking on land.

Is Swimming Better Than Running?

Now the question is which one of them is better in terms of physical activity for seniors. Well, here are some things you can keep in mind while coming to the conclusion. These pointers are largely from a perspective to provide the right information for seniors and are in no way applied to all the other age groups.

  • Calories

As we mentioned above, running burns more calories than swimming. So, if your goal is to lose weight then going for running is a better option.

  • Safety

Now, this is an important factor to be taken into consideration. While doing running, a lot of pressure falls on the knee joints which can lead to injury. In seniors, the chances of such incidents are higher. While in the case of swimming, things are better as there is no stress on joints and one can easily work out the whole body.

Both exercises have their advantages and can help in improving health. It is just that in the case of senior adults, swimming benefits outweigh that of running. So, if you are wondering which is better than we would say that in the case of seniors, swimming is a much more preferred choice.

Why is water aerobics good for seniors?

Experts who work in the fitness for seniors are not very surprised by the fact that water aerobics provides immense benefits to them. It’s not just the experts but also the seniors themselves who see this physical activity as an opportunity rather than something that they have to do to get in shape even if they don’t like it.

As mentioned by WebMD, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Ph.D., the head of the department of kinesiology at the University of Illinois mentioned at the Urbana-Champaign, “It’s clear that aqua aerobics or water-based activities provide significant benefits for adults, including increasing metabolism”.

The post also mentioned that Wojtek, at his former post at the University of Alabama, led research for 15 years which looked into the benefits and effects of physical activities – both in water and on land – among older adults.

According to him, any physical activity not just increases the metabolism but also improves cardiovascular health in general along with increasing the strength, slowing down the loss of muscle mass due to old-age and an overall decrease in the reaction time that comes with the age.

So, it is pretty much clear what water aerobic and indulging in physical activity can do to help seniors.

Benefits of Water Aerobics

Now, if you are wondering what kind of benefits does Aqua aerobics provides and why so many people get indulged in it then here is a small list to give you the idea.

Since the action happens it water, the medium supports the bodyweight thus putting less stress on a person’s muscles and joints. Physical activities, in general, are considered to be good for the overall health of the body, but there can be times when those activities can put strain onto the muscles of a person and leads to pain that can last for days or weeks.

Water aerobics is a great strength builder as the pressure inside water offers resistance. So when you fight or move against the flow of water, it activates the muscles.

Another great benefit of water aerobics is that it puts less strain on the heart. This happens due to the water pressure that moves the blood around the body so that the heart can work normally without taking too much.

The best part about doing any physical activity in water is that you can avoid the overheating that comes with doing a workout. This keeps you going longer than usual and enhances the benefit of the activity.

When it comes to the motion than being in the water provides a body with the range due to the concept called buoyancy. In easy words, the impact of gravity reduces in water.

Mentioned above are some of the benefits that come from water aerobics. But if you are specifically looking for benefits in case of seniors, then here are some listed down below-

  • Water Aerobics helps in reducing the risk of falling and getting injured by improving the balance. So those seniors who have balance issues and are generally prone to falling while running or doing any extensive physical activity can go for it.
  • It increases the overall flexibility of a person and helps in improving the functioning of the lungs and heart thus keeping a senior healthy.
  • As mentioned before, being in water provides resistance that helps in building strength in bones and muscles.
  • Those suffering from arthritis can notice a relief in joint pain by indulging in water aerobics.
  • Last but not the least, it helps in promoting blood circulation throughout the body that keeps the organs of a senior healthy and alive.

Top 10 pool exercises for seniors

Now if you are not aware of many water exercises and want to explore more then you can check out the list of pool exercises mentioned below. Whether your goal is to increase your mobility or keeping your body active in your old age, there is a wide horizon of exercises that you can indulge yourself into.

Pool exercises are not only good for joints and overall health of the body, but they are also fun and can relieve a lot of your stress. But before going forward, if you have any medical condition, make sure that you consult your doctor before doing any pool exercise mentioned below.

1. Leg Swings

Leg swings are amazing pool exercises to strengthen the muscles in the upper legs. The exercise also keeps the hips flexible and strong. Here’s how you can do leg swings-

  • Go and stand at the side of the pool with the body immersed in water enough to reach the lower back.
  • Swing one leg forward and hold it there for 5-10 seconds while keeping the other leg straight.
  • Then swing it backward and hold it again for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat this activity 10 times in both the directions and both sides.

2. Arm Circles

This exercise is a fun way to work out your upper body. All you have to do is stand at the edge of the pool and immerse the body until the water starts touching your neck.

Then put one foot forward and other foot backward to balance your body and lift your arms straight keeping your palms down. Then start rotating your arms in a circular motion. The exercise aims to keep your heart healthy and strengthen your upper back and shoulders.

3. Water Marching

Another great pool exercise is water marching. This exercise involves the movement of the whole. And doing it is very easy and is done exactly the way it sounds. All you have to do is march inside water.

Stand inside the pool with water reaching your chest and then extend your arm forward like you’d do while marching. Then start moving your arms with force.

The water will provide you with enough resistance to promote your heart to pump blood faster to the whole body and the movement will strengthen your body.

4. Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a recurring part of water aerobics and are widely used for many things from exercising to learning how to swim. It’s an amazing exercise of low impact and can get your heart pumping. This workout is done in two ways – with a kickboard and without a kickboard.

With Kickboard-

Hold the kickboard forward and start flutter kicks so that you can swim. The kicks will help you in propelling yourself forward. The board, on the other hand, will support you on the surface of the water (helpful when you don’t know how to swim).

Without Kickboard-

Hold the side of the pool and lie flat on the surface of the water, then start kicking with your legs.

5. Arm Curls

Maintaining upper body strength becomes easy when you do this exercise inside water. This water activity involves supplementary weights such as water weights for the pool.

To execute this exercise, you need to hold the weight in your front with the palms facing out. Then curl those weights up and down in a motion to put stress on your arm. It’s exactly like doing bicep curls. Since you are doing it in water, the resistance adds to the effectiveness.

6. Calf Raises

This is a pretty easy exercise to do in the water. From building lower body strength to carving your calves, this exercise provides tremendous benefits.

To do this, stand waist-deep in water, then put all your body weight on the front side of your feet and lift your heel to stand on your toes and then lower your heels down. Repeat this 10-20 times.

7. Cannonball

This is one of the pool noodle exercises where you wrap a noodle around your underarms and back and float in deep water. Then all you have to do is to extend your legs towards the pool’s bottom while keeping your feet together and your toes pointed.

Then engage your core by raising your knees towards your chest. Try holding for a few seconds before throwing your legs back. You can do 10-20 reps of this exercise.

8. Deep-sea Dive

This exercise is a part of deep water aerobics where you stand in waist-deep water with your feet open, then you hold the noodle on the surface of the water with both hands a little wider than your shoulder’s width.

Then start raising your left leg while simultaneously pressing the arms down. Do it until your left leg is parallel to the base of the pool. Then return to the starting position. Repeat this at least 10 times, then switch to your right leg.

9. Chest Fly

This water aerobic is the imitation of the gym workout where you use the resistance of the water as the weight to work out your chest and upper body. All you have to do is keep your arms stretched just below the surface of the water and then bring them to your sides. You can do 20 reps of this exercise.

10. Swimming

If you want to work out your whole body then you can start swimming slowly. If you don’t know how to swim then there are kickboards and tubes that you can use to swim. You can see people swimming for reference.

To swim, bring your legs back and do flutter kicks while rotating your hands in a circular motion to propel you in the forward direction.


Senior years come with its challenges, but it is important to keep your body in good shape and working condition. So, you can indulge yourself in water aerobics that can improve your quality of life. The best part is, you don’t have to take it as a workout because water activities are so much fun to do. And if you are unsure, ask other people like your friends, or family to join you or else there are many water aerobics groups out there that you can join. As mentioned above, these water aerobics can provide tremendous benefits and keep you healthy.

Written By
Kate Mallord is a health blogger. In the year 1988, She graduated from the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. Kate is an exemplary doctor. She has always devoted herself to caring for older adult patients. Read More