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Best 7 Pool Exercises for Seniors (with Equipment List)

Staying active at any age has its challenges, but in your senior years it can prove to be tricky. It doesn’t have to be that way though! Pool exercises for seniors, water aerobics, is one of those activities that is fun to do and great for mobility in the golden years. There are many benefits to water aerobics for anyone in need of low impact exercises.

I know that we tend to have more aches, pains and injuries in our golden years than we do when we are younger, but the more we stay active, the less likely these issues will keep us down. Aquatic exercise is a great way for seniors to stay active! It’s also the best way for seniors who are already dealing with mobility issues to get back into a fitness routine.

Pool Exercises for Seniors

Even if they were athletic and active in their younger years, older adults might find that the exercises that they used to do in their youth just isn’t an option anymore. That’s why water workouts are so great!

Physical activity, while still beneficial, is far less impactful under water. You’ll find that you have less joint pain with these types of workouts since you are putting less stress on your joints when you are doing this type of exercise.

How Can Water Exercise Benefit a Senior’s Health

Water exercises offer great health benefits to anyone, seniors included. A daily routine that incorporates exercise on a regular basis can reduce your risk of diseases such as arthritis and diabetes and will also provide the benefit of improved cardiovascular health.

A water exercise program can help seniors build muscle strength, prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, take off extra weight and much more. Because water exercises help to build muscle mass, they are also great for helping to maintain good posture and easing back pain.

As a person ages, they tend to lose some of their bone density. This loss can create a risk of bone breaks. A workout routine that includes water exercise can help to prevent bone breaks and similar injuries by helping to improve bone density.

Equipment Needed for Water Exercises

The equipment needed for water exercises for seniors is quite minimal. Obviously, you will need a body of water to work out in. Unless you live in a warm climate, you will need to have access to an indoor pool.

A heated, warm water pool will allow you to get a good workout without the risks that come with cold water. (Read about the best air temperature for swimming)

You need the pool to be deep enough for you to do workouts in both waist-deep water and chest-deep water. You can typically find a public or private pool in your town that offers free swim times or even aqua aerobics classes.

two senior ladies about to dive into a pool

While the water is the only equipment required for exercising in water, there are other tools that can be helpful in your aquatic fitness routine. An example of fitness equipment that can be used in the water include:

The Best Water Exercises for Seniors

Freestyle Swimming

Even just swimming around the pool can give you a good amount of exercise. If you aren’t quite ready to have a structured workout plan, but you know you want to be active, swimming is a great option. Swimming is a wonderful full body workout that benefits your heart health and builds muscle, while being easy on your joints.

Water Walking

Standing in chest deep to waist deep water and begin walking. You can walk across the width of the pool or you can simply walk in place. The natural resistance of the water will help to increase your heart rate.

Aqua Jogging

Aqua jogging (also known as deep water running) is a great low impact exercise. Standing in water that is deeper than waist deep, begin running underwater. Like water walking, you can travel across the pool or stay in place while you run. Some people also put a flotation device around their waist and running in place in deep water.

Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks may be a basic skill in swimming, but they are also a great workout for seniors. To do this exercise, hold on to the edge of the pool while extending your body horizontally behind you (submerging your face in the water will give you the best positioning here). Push one leg down into the water, flexing the hip to push your leg down. Continue this motion down, bending the knee and pushing down with your foot. Repeat with the other leg. Continue alternating legs.

If you do not want to stay stationary against the wall, you can also do flutter kicks holding a kickboard to travel the length of the pool.

Leg Lifts

Standing in place in waist deep water, lift your left leg straight out to the side and bring it back down. Do 10-15 reps of this (or until failure) and then do your other leg. 

This exercise strengthens your core muscles as well as the muscles in your hips and legs.

senior woman swimming in pool looking at camera

Arm Circles

For this exercise, you do need to move to water that is shoulder deep (if that isn’t an option, you can also squat down, so that your shoulders are under water). Now, lift your arms out to your sides, making sure to keep your palms down. Move your arms in a circular motion for approximately 15 seconds and then reverse direction for another 15 seconds.

Arm Curls

This workout requires shoulder deep water and water weights. 

Start by standing in the pool with your arms straight down and your palms out in front of you. Bend your arms, curling your water weights up. Let them back down just fast enough that you can feel the resistance of the water against your arm.

Other Water Fitness Options

You can also check with your local pool or fitness center to see what type of aquatic workouts and classes they offer for pool exercises for seniors. You’ll often find water aerobics classes, water yoga, and more.

If you like to work out in a group setting, these types of fitness classes are a great option for you. Many local gyms, even if they don’t have a pool, can lead you in the right direction for water fitness classes.

Choosing to add these pool exercises for seniors or anyone in need of low impact workouts gives the opportunity to increase your fitness level and overall health. Be sure to check out our other low impact workouts like this swim workout and these easy pool exercises.

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