Exercising in the pool is great way to get in a workout! The water helps support you and allows you to challenge yourself! You can safely push the limits of your balance or get a thorough strength workout without putting too much stress on your joints compared to working out on land. Have you ever considered taking your flexibility workout into the pool? Increasing the range of motion within your joints and developing flexibility in major muscle and tendon groups can keep you mobile, promote better posture, and help prevent injuries. All these combine to reduce stress on your body!
People of any age can improve their flexibility and range of motion by practicing flexibility exercises! Seniors can start to see their flexibility grow within a month if they consistently practice two to three days each week, although stretching is most effective when done daily. Older adults should try to hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds and repeat each stretch three times. You don’t have to try to twist yourself into a pretzel to get a good stretch. Small movements or static stretches that help maintain or increase flexibility for each muscle group will do the trick. When you hold a stretch, you should never feel pain and you should breathe throughout the stretch. Hold a stretch until you feel tension in your muscles, but don’t pull so hard that it hurts.
When you first get into the water, be sure and warm up before you start stretching because flexibility exercises are most effective when the muscle is warm. Start by walking a few laps around the pool to loosen up. If you are exercising in a heated pool, that’s a bonus for stretching!
Take advantage of all parts of your pool. Do you have steps leading down into the water? Use the bottom step as an extra level while stretching! A safety bar along the shallow end of your pool? Perfect! Holding onto the bar can help you pull closer into a deep calf stretch. A bench seat along one wall? This way you don’t have to get your hair wet while doing seated stretches.
Try a few of these stretches in the water! Take deep, slow breaths, and stretch both sides of your body. Be sure and stay hydrated even when exercising in the water! If your pool is outdoors, don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
- Stand at one end of the pool and face the wall. Hold onto the wall for balance. Position your toes and the ball of one foot on the wall. Keep your heel of the other foot on the floor. Straighten your legs, stand tall, and use your arms to pull your hips toward the wall until you feel the stretch in the calf of your front leg
- Extend one leg out in front of you propping the heal on the floor, straighten your knee as far as you comfortably can, and pull your toes up towards the ceiling. Stretch your arms straight ahead until you feel a stretch along the hamstring of your front leg.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and rest your arms on the surface of the water. Slowly rotate your torso side to side while keeping your hips facing forward.
- Try to clasp your hands behind your lower back and straighten your elbows. Lift your chest up towards the ceiling and raise your hands up behind you as far as you comfortably can.
The pool is a great addition to your fitness routine. Take your flexibility workout in the water and see what you can do in the water!