The water's density offers resistance in all directions, which helps to develop toned muscles. And with less gravity you can easily move your joints through a wider range of motion, increasing flexibility.
Just about any exercise you do on land can be done in the pool. Jumping jacks, normally a high-impact exercise that can be hard on sensitive knees and hips, becomes a comfortable low-impact cardio exercise in the water. If you want a little variety, you can mix up your workouts by alternating working in chest-deep or deep water; if working in deep water, it is generally recommended to use a flotation belt.
WATER EXERCISE TIPS
Warm up in the pool before you begin exercising with a little jogging in place and wide sweeping motions of the arms; cool down when finished, with stretching.
When walking or jogging, always make sure your heels make contact with the floor of the pool.
Contracting abdominals will help to give you the correct posture for performing the exercises.
Drink water before and after your workout. Even in the pool, dehydration is possible.
Jumping moguls: Strengthens the whole body. Standing with feet together, bring knees toward chest and jump side to side; using your hands, push water to the opposite side.
Cross-country skiing: Works muscles in the upper and lower body. With left leg forward, extend right arm. Jump and alternate legs with straight arms. Continue alternating arms and legs.
Tennis, baseball and golf swings: Strengthens obliques (sides of abdomen), lower back, arms and shoulders. Holding both hands together, practice (underwater) the stroke or the swing, using the correct form. To make it harder, wear water gloves.
Toe-heel walks: A good balance exercise. Contract abdominals and stand tall. Walk an imaginary line, placing one foot in front of the other, balancing with arms extended to sides. Try walking backward.
The dancer: Have fun with some of your favorite dance moves, adding a little grace while toning muscles of your entire body.
If you are 50 or older and have not been exercising, check with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Trainer Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. She can be reached at email@example.com.
SEE THE ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS (ABOVE RIGHT) FOR THIS MONTH'S EXERCISES:
Use your noodle for some water exercises demonstrated by Kim Huff, 49, fitness coordinator at Westminster Suncoast retirement community in St. Petersburg. Noodles provide a multipurpose workout tool for water exercises. They are made from lightweight, buoyant polyethylene foam and can be bent for many different movements. They provide balance in the water and offer resistance for upper-, lower- and core body workouts. (Our thanks to the ladies demonstrating the moves: Millicent Webster, Betty Emery, Dot Marshall, Ann Carlson, Beatrice Sinclair.) Sally Anderson