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As we get older, exercise is vital in order to stay healthy and able-bodied. However, our advancing years are often accompanied by joint pain and mobility issues that make it difficult to stay active. Activities like walking and stretching are good forms of low-impact exercise that don’t put too much stress on joints and bones, yet keep the body limber and the heart healthy. However, a cardiovascular workout like walking strengthens a limited number of muscles in the body, mainly those in the core and lower body. When it comes to getting a full body, low impact strength workout, aqua-exercise can’t be beat. Water provides the necessary resistance for muscle development, while the buoyancy of the water reduces impact on bones and joints. The beautiful retirement resort of Vicar’s Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, offers a full-sized, salt water, heated swimming pool that is open year round to enable Members to get all the benefits of aqua-exercise, even offering Aquasise classes with a certified instructor.

Those worried about their joints, ligaments or tendons but who wish to strengthen their muscles via weightlifting can do so with aqua-exercise. There are underwater weights available so that you can still get the benefits of resistance training without the stress exerted by the force of gravity, which the buoyancy of water helps to mitigate. Tone your arms, back, shoulders and core with a properly structured workout plan – stronger muscles provide support for the rest of the body, reducing the chance of injuries. Higher muscle mass also improves the metabolism, which will help with excess weight and lift energy levels.

Older individuals are prone to developing osteoporosis, which can make them wary of exercise for fear of injuries. While aqua-exercise may not provide as much bone-building effects as land based workouts due to the lessened load-bearing impact, it still provides an excellent method of improving and maintaining bone health and general wellness, and reduces the fear of falling or bone fractures that may prevent osteoporosis sufferers from exercising at all.

Running is a great activity for heart health and general fitness, but  the foot-striking force can be jarring to joints, bones, and knees. Aqua jogging offers these benefits without the risks, and is even used to rehabilitate injured athletes. Amazingly, the properties of water and the displacement of weight when submerged mean that for a 150 pound person, only 15 pounds (the approximate weight of the head) is exerted on the spine, knees and hips when the body is underwater. This is a huge load off! No wonder aqua-jogging has such great therapeutic value for older adults who find it difficult to run on land. The exercise itself is as simple as running up and down the lanes of a pool.

Aqua exercise is frequently offered in the form of fitness classes or group sessions. This gives Members a chance to socialize, which is vital as loneliness amongst retirees becomes an increasingly common problem. Groups and classes provide a much needed social outlet and can lead to a sense of community among Members.

An additional benefit of water exercise is weight loss – seniors often find it more difficult to shed extra weight than when they were younger. A person weighing 125 pounds will burn 240 calories in an hour of water aerobics, while a person weighing 185 pounds will burn 356 calories an hour. Many Members find exercising in water to be an activity their energy levels can endure more easily – being in the water is relaxing, refreshing and invigorating, such that an hour will fly by.

Exercise is essential for Members who often share the common goal to stay independent and enjoy their quality of life. The number of conditions, both physical and psychological, that can be delayed or prevented by staying active has been well documented, so it’s essential that those with physical limitations or injuries find a form of exercise that they can make a regular part of their schedule. Aqua-exercise is the perfect solution to those who struggle with land-based workouts or want a low-impact activity to prevent injuries, which is why Vicar’s Landing offers its Members a chance to reap these benefits with the on-site swimming pool and Aquasise classes.