Senior Wellness: Water Workouts this Winter
It’s cold outside! Some places around the country even boast ice and snow—not a very conducive environment for seniors looking for a safe cardio workout to strengthen stability and stamina. Why not say goodbye to the cold and snow this winter and say hello to a warm water workout?
Many clients around the country have robust wellness programs where community members, for a nominal fee, utilize the HydroWorx technology without a therapy prescription or facility admittance. A few of these industry leaders chime in below, discussing how their residents and community members utilize their HydroWorx pools (and larger, static pools) for wellness.
Socializing and working out, a perfect partnership
At Carolina Village, executive director Kevin Parries and his residents live by the motto, “Being alive as long as you live.” They stay active and engaged! They take a holistic approach to wellness, looking at eight key dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, environmental, social, intellectual and vocational.
Kevin believes socializing and exercise can go hand in hand. “We have three full-time activity directors and a part-time aquatics leader that focus on keeping our residents engaged and active,” said Kevin. “We hold group exercise classes in our two pools. A group of residents even use the pools and working out as social events. Eight or nine of them get in the larger pool every evening and socialize while they work out. It’s open 24 hours a day to our residents and operates on the buddy system.
“I like to get in the HydroWorx pool occasionally at the same time as residents as they walk, providing a different setting for me to get to know them. It’s been a conduit for me to get to know residents better and for them to become acquainted with me on a different level.”
Improving Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Liz Grzeskowiak and Barb Cacia from Pieters Family Life Center like to use additional equipment in the pool with their wellness program for added resistance and ADL practice.
“Flotations really help people learn to control their movements. With the water, people can work slowly and this helps us fine-tune those muscles for control, something you really can’t do on land. We use kickboards as resistance. A patient will hold the kickboard in front of himself and walk against the current of the system. We use dumbbells the same way; we have different sizes and they help build strength. We also submerge a set of steps in the pool so people can experience the motion of stepping up and down, perfect for knee replacement, stroke, or MS patients. It’s a very warm, very controlled environment and leads to pain-free healing.”
Barb said they had a fibromyalgia patient having trouble with balance, feeling dizzy and out of breath. But once she stuck with a water program twice a week, it helped her get her core strength back, which helped her shop, prepare meals, and carry on independently. A back surgery patient who also underwent knee replacement loves the pool for building core strength. Initially after surgery, she struggled to get away from using the walker. After a couple of sessions with Barb in the pool, she’s hardly using the walker or chair. She’s continuing with wellness classes and continues to make great strides.
Addressing Various Needs with Flexible Technology
Cindy Hoover, director of therapy at Arlington Pointe, had no previous professional aquatic experience prior to coming to Arlington Pointe where residents had access to a HydroWorx 2000 unit, but Cindy grew up as a competitive swimmer and lifeguard and understood the healing power of warm water.
“The cameras, the jets, and the treadmill all come into play for various people’s needs,” says Cindy. “It depends on the person which of those features is most important. We’ve used the jets for resistive walking, the treadmill for extra cardio endurance, since people can walk longer distances in the water than on land because of the buoyancy of the water. All of the features are so helpful; the warmth of the water relaxes joints and muscles and gives increased flexibility.”
Whether the weather is pleasant or unpleasant, staying active year-round is imperative for seniors. Water offers a weightless environment and a pain free way to move, so seniors can get out of the cold, into the warm water and on their way to a healthier 2018!
To understand the benefits of water for wellness, download our whitepaper, “Why Water Worx for Wellness”>>