Health

Aqua aerobics blend fitness with flexibility

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Can playing in the pool count as exercise? Yes, according to fitness experts, especially for water aerobics, which is a low impact way to exercise without putting stress on joints or risking injury.

“Patients with severe arthritis, congestive heart failure, or morbid obesity may find even slow walking too painful or difficult. Not so in your local swimming pool, thanks to the buoyancy of water,” states SilverSneakers (SS). SS is a nationwide fitness program encouraging older adults to participate in physical activities to help them optimize their health. Medicare Advantage plans may cover the program.

Many aqua aerobic options are available: “Silver Sneakers Splash, for example, is a water-based fitness class designed for all skill levels, even non-swimmers. It’s available nationally at select gyms, YMCAs, and recreation centers. The Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program is another pool fitness class, shown to boost muscle strength and relieve pain,” according to SS. “Doing at least two-and-one-half hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise – like water aerobics – can protect you against heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Bonus: it can improve your mood.”

The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) lists other benefits of water workouts: “It’s hydrostatic pressure ‘pushes’ against your chest and body, lowering the heart rate and helping blood circulate more efficiently. Its resistance makes any movement harder than on land, resulting in faster development of muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility. Its buoyancy makes your body ‘weight’ in waist-deep water 50 percent lighter than your land load, reducing joint impact and providing better balance.”

AARP adds that pool exercise speeds recovery after knee-replacement surgery, providing greater knee flexibility, and less swelling and stiffness. “In water, you can do multi-directional exercises that you can’t do safely on land, such as walking backwards at different speeds.”

Fox Point : 3300 Charles J. Miler Memorial Highway, McHenry, IL 60050 : 815.322.7166 : http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.

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