'How-To' Warm-Up for Seniors

This is an Aquatic pattern from www.turnstep.com. (pattern 12708)

Since leaving Florida, where my favorite aqua instructor (and excellent mentor!) was an Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) certified trainer and many AEA programs where available, it has become common for me to see my participants doing aqua moves in a manner that puts undue stress on the inside of their knees and legs. Some people in my class have told me that for years they have been doing aqua exercises more like they would on land -- and missing out on all they could get from an aqua class! One lady said she never knew about having her heel touch the bottom of the pool when jogging and for years thought she was supposed to have painfully sore calves after an aqua class! So, for all of the instructors who valiantly teach aqua aerobics -- here is some basic aqua information that may benefit you and your people. If you already know this, just skip to the next pattern!

Always cue the class to remember three things!

Warm-ups are important to adjust the body to being in the water -- especially if the water is cool. It gets the body fluids flowing. Here are some easy exercises (that I like) to use for the warm-up.

Warm Up

* Perform each exercise from 16 to 32 counts-however you decide; and

* As a rule of thumb, I go through these three times (i.e. heel taps, jog, curls; heel taps, jog, curls; heel taps, jog, curls; and then jacks & skis.) It takes up the right amount of time for me to make sure my people are adequately warmed up.

Heel tap in front with 'washboard' arms (both hands press down in front, thumbs toward body as each leg straightens and heel taps bottom of pool less than a foot in front of the body. Make sure the weight bearing leg has the knee slightly bent to avoid hyper-extension of the weight-bearing knee.)

Review and have class perform jacks and cross country ski.

Jacks: When doing a weight-bearing jack make sure the foot stays under the knee in a vertical line -- the quads do the work -- the body bends at the hips 90 degrees and almost to 90 degrees at the knees (less bend if they have knee problems). It is as if a person is going to sit in a chair and then changes their mind. The shoulders can get wet on this exercise when done correctly. It is very much like a squat. The exercise cannot be done on land -- it is water specific! To keep your balance the upper body actually comes very slightly forward until the you learn to use your hands to help support the body -- but cue to keep a straight back!

Skis: Weight is on the front foot which is in a vertical line with the knee. At the same time only toes and ball of the back foot touches the pool bottom. Arms move opposite to the legs - when right leg is forward the left arm swings forward and in an arc as if pitching a softball. Thumbs usually are toward the body and angle hand to adjust stress on arms/shoulders. The work is in the thigh for the front leg and the back leg gets a stretch on this exercise!

I follow this immediately with stationary stretches on each leg for tush, hamstring, quad, and calf. Then a quick upper body arm stretch and into the aqua class!

You could skip the stationary stretches and go straight into the aqua class - whatever you prefer.

More of a basic aqua class to be posted when I get some time! Hope this helps!

Added by Meg at 9:30 PM on Saturday, January 25, 2003 EST. Add to favorites (view favorites)
(Email: desry@bellsouth.net)
From: Chapel Hill, North Carolina (USA)
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