Making Waves for Health and Fun

August 5, 2020 by Katie Davis

Aquatics for older adults

We are hugely grateful to have Kelly Stranburg, CEO of Excellence in Wellness, heading up all wellness programming and initiatives for CarePods. In this guest post, she breaks down the basics of aquatic exercise and helps you focus on quality over quantity. Enjoy!

One of the best activities of summer is the opportunity to swim in backyard pools, lakes, or at the beach. Water opportunities are often overlooked for effective workouts or quality exercise. Aquatic workouts can be of great benefit to anyone of any age with varying fitness and health goals. The physical properties of water like buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure differ from the land-based environment of other exercise options and establishes why aquatic exercise excels as an exercise modality for almost anyone. Benefits of aquatic workouts can include increase in cardiovascular health, increase in muscle mass, increase in muscle strength, increase in range of motion of joints, improved core strength, improved balance, decrease in joint pain, and decrease in swelling in lower extremities.

Aquatic exercise includes swimming laps, treading water, water aerobics, water walking, and even more! There are special bikes that can be dropped into pools for aquatic spinning and aquatic treadmills that support walking and running at all speeds including 0.1 MPH!

Two simple exercises you can do in a pool or lake to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and reap the benefits of aquatic workouts:

Water Walking – It is advised to walk in water that is chest height for maximum benefits. Take long strides while pushing your arms through the water. Envision a cross country skiing motion. This activity will engage major muscles of the body while engaging the core. This exercise burns calories, is an effective low impact cardiovascular exercise, advised for those with arthritis, and supports better balance. It is also a great activity to do alongside friends and family.

Treading Water – To effectively tread water you will want to be in water that is deep enough to elongate the legs without hitting the bottom of a pool or lake and the water level should be at neck or high on the chest. This activity will also engage the entire body while increasing the heart rate and burning calories. This is an activity that may require building up the duration of how long you can do. I recommend treading water for a 1-minute bout initially followed by a short break and then repeating. Attempt to complete 3 – 5 treading bouts. Over time increase the duration of your treading bouts until you are able to do 5+ minutes per bout with a 60 second rest in between.

As with any new exercise regimen be sure to consult with your physician to ensure there are no reasons why you should not pursue this type of activity due to your personal health and well-being circumstances. In the case of aquatic activities always practice extra precaution for swimmers of all abilities to ensure your safety in any situation.

In health and wellness,

Kelly A. Stranburg