7 Water Aerobic Exercises for Seniors with Joint Pain

Water Aerobic Exercises for Seniors

7 Water Aerobic Exercises for Seniors with Joint Pain

Joint pain and other conditions can make exercising the last thing seniors want to do. Water exercises can relieve arthritis and joint pain and increase muscle mass.


Pool (aquatic) exercise can provide many benefits. Plus, it’s an ideal environment to exercise throughout the year. Water buoyancy supports a portion of your body weight and makes it easier to move in the water while improving flexibility. Water can also provide movement resistance, helping to strengthen muscles.

Pool exercises can aid in balance, agility, and cardiovascular fitness. Many types of conditions can benefit from aquatic activity like arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, joint replacements, and overall balance problems. The pool also reduces fall risks when compared to exercise on land.

How to prepare for the pool

Before starting an exercise program, check with your physician to make sure pool exercises are suitable for you. Here are some tips to get started:

  • For aided traction, utilize water shoes
  • Water level at waist or chest high is good for exercising
  • Use a foam noodle or floatation vest/belt to keep you afloat in deep water.
  • The slower the water movement, the less resistance that will be provided as compared to faster movements.
  • For additional resistance, try webbed water gloves, styrofoam weights, kickboards, or inflated balls
  • Don’t push your body through pain in any exercise.
  • It is still important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially as you won’t notice the sweat you produce in the pool


7 water aerobic exercises to incorporate for those with joint or arthritis pain:

Aqua jogging

Aqua jogging is recommended for its low stress on joints, bones, and muscles. Lower stress on the body reduces the risk of pain and injury. If you’re not ready for running in the water or just need a break, feel free to modify it by just walking.

Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are an easily adaptable exercise while still working out arms, legs, and increasing your heart rate. Stand in chest level water with your feet together and your arms to your side. Bring your legs apart and your arms over your head simultaneously as you jump in place. Next, jump again and return your arms and legs to the side position.

Wall chair

While in chest-deep water, stand with your feet around 6 to 8 inches from the edge of the pool with your back to the wall. Slide your back down along the wall of the pool as you bend your knees. Hold that position in place for one minute or longer when possible. 

Flutter kicks

Flutter kicks are a great exercise for strengthening both your legs and the core muscles. Grabbing onto the edge of the pool outstretched and facing up, kick your legs quickly behind you. For a tougher workout, keep your legs submerged in water while kicking harder without lifting your legs higher.


Even pushups can be done in the water. While standing in the pool by the edge, place your arms shoulder-width apart on the pool’s side. Press down through your hands and raise your body up and halfway out of the water. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Hold this position for 3 seconds and slowly lower back down into the pool. 

Arm raises

Incorporate arm paddles or webbed gloves for added resistance. Start by holding your arms at your sides. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Raise and lower elbows and arms toward the water surface, while the elbows remain bent to 90 degrees. Repeat this for 3 sets and 10 total times each. You can also do arm curls with water dumbbells as well. 

Leg lifts

Using the water’s resistance, leg lifts work out all of the muscles in the lower body. For this exercise, stand in the pool and lift one leg out to one side and then back down. Repeat this until your leg feels tired. Next, switch your legs and perform the same exercise on your other leg. This exercise not only works the legs, but it also improves balance while strengthening your core.

As we get older, seniors may not have exercise at the top of their to-do list because of arthritis, joint pain, and other age-related health problems that occur. However, water aerobic exercises are a great alternative to more traditional gym exercises. Perform the listed exercises at least three times a week to experience greater flexibility, cardiovascular function, and bone density. As an added bonus, you may experience relief from joint and arthritis pain too. 

Take a look at our other recent posts including how Tai Chi can benefit those with arthritis and exercises that can help prevent fall risks. Follow Chosen Family’s insights for tips for seniors and caregivers to provide for themselves or their loved ones. Consider Chosen Family for your elder or disabled loved one that may need additional assistance or support for activities of daily living.


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