Summer is officially here, and the pools are open. Many people have above ground or in-ground pools in at their own homes. I learned to swim when I was just 7 years old. My mom took me to the YMCA for a 6 week swimming class. Since I have become older, and I have joint pain issues due to osteoarthritis, I like to do water aerobics. One of my friends has a swimming pool, so I go when I can.
One of the things I like to do is to create a whirlpool. This is especially fun if you have other people in the pool to help you get the whirlpool going. If you have a round pool, it’s really easy. Just walk in one direction around the circumference of the pool. Pretty soon the movement of water will generate a whirlpool. Now to make it more fun, switch directions after you have a good water rotation going. The effort it takes to walk against the force of the water is great exercise. Keep doing this until you get your heart rate up. It’s great and when you get tired of it, do something else.
Here’s something you can do while you are resting up from the last exercise. If you can tread water, you won’t need to hang onto the side of the pool. If you don’t have good water balance, then go ahead and either grasp the side of the pool, or hang onto a floatation device. Now flex your hips and bring your knees up and try to touch your chest with your knees. Do about 12 reps per set of these. Do 4 or 5 sets. You can rest between sets.
While you are doing the above exercise, you can also put a little twist into your action. When you bring your knees up toward your chest, turn your waist so that your knees face to your right side and then to your left. I think of this exercise sort of like the agitator in the old type washing machines. While you are doing these flexing exercises, be sure to hold in your abdominal muscles. A good way to hold them in is to cough once and hold your core muscles in the same position from the cough.
This next exercise is good for the leg and hip. Stand at the shallow end of the pool with your side facing the wall. Extend your leg out in front of you and kick up and then rotate the hip and leg out to the side and back in to the center and then place the leg down planting your foot on the floor of the pool. Do about 12 reps of these per set. Work the other side of your body the same way. You may do 4 or 5 sets of these.
The good thing about water exercise is that you weigh less in water. Your joints don’t experience the same stresses of gravity that you would outside of a watery environment. You can do much more exercise in water with a lot less effort, yet your body will still have a very good workout. To be effective, you should do water aerobics 2 to 3 times a week. Have fun, cool off and get fit!
(C) Charlene Collins