Aqua Aerobics: How To Start, and The Benefits

My Dad, of all people, asked me the other week about water workouts. He’s never been a big one for the pool, and for years was an active walker. Then his knees started bothering him, and one of his walking buddies raved about the gentleness of working out in the water. Dad asked me why I was so hooked on aqua aerobics, and here’s what I told him:

It’s easy to start. “Dad, it’s not that complicated – you don’t have to go get geared up to have a great water workout.” He wanted details, so I told him that if he wanted to continue something similar to his walking, aqua jogging was a great place to start in the water. He could just head to the pool when the lap lanes were open, and start walking up and down at a brisk pace. It would be a great and gentle workout routine.

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

Try a class. If he wanted to try something else, he could throw in an aqua aerobics workout class, where the instructor would lead the people through some great cardio, leg and upper body work. I gave him some great sites with more information about aqua aerobics workouts. Even though he’s getting older now, he’s on top of the internet, and loves research, so I knew he would read everything I gave him.

It has more exotic options. I know my Dad has wanted to reduce stress in his life, so I suggested he could also try an aqua tai chi class, or yoga in the water. I go to those aqua aerobics classes when I need a good stretch, or when I’ve had a stressful day, and want to unwind. Dad has been so busy and active, I thought he would like those options, and they are very gentle exercises. He could also try water paddling, where he holds on to the side of the pool, and then kicks his legs to get the workout. I know Dad isn’t much into swimming, but he would like working out his legs with this exercise. There are also weight workouts which can be done in the water, and classes where you can learn how to do a great weight routine in the water, using small weights, or just the water itself.

There are wonderful benefits. Dad had not worked out for a while, because of his knees, so I knew he would like the gentleness of a water workout. Water provides great buoyancy, which means that the person’s body is held up by the water, and makes them feel lighter in the water. That will mean less chance of injury for him, and less joint pain after the workout. Now that Dad is a bit older, he has to factor in those benefits and be more mindful of taking it easy on his body. The other great benefit of water workouts is resistance, since it takes more effort to move through the water, providing the work. Compared to lifting weights in the gym, a water workout is very gentle, and that’s why people like it so much.

Helps with ailments. It has been proven that just 30 minutes of a water workout can bring the blood sugar level into normal range, which is good news for those with diabetes. Aqua aerobics can also provide benefits by increasing metabolism, slowing down age related loss of muscles mass and reaction time, and lead to an overall better sense of well being.

I went by to see Dad this week, after he had tried his first aqua aerobics class. “How was it, Dad?” His big smile told me all I needed to know!

5 Fun After-Fifty Fitness Activities (outside the norm)

If you’re anything like me, you can get a little restless when you get locked into a pattern or a repetitious lifestyle. Some people were made for their daily 5am jog—some people were not. I like adventure! I like to do fitness activities that suffice my need to explore. I like to try new things, learn new things, and see new things. Do you yearn to go on new adventures? Find new places? Shake things up? Here are a few ideas of things that either A. I think are fun or B. I would love to try someday soon!

1. Scuba Diving

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

There’s something about strapping on the tank and getting in the water that is just amazing. Scuba diving is an excellent fitness activity, as swimming helps you build muscle without the stress on your joints—and it has been shown, over time, to improve lung function and breathing abilities! Scuba is also an incredible stress reliever. The act of exploring underwater—watching fishes—maybe even seeing a giant Pacific Octopus, if you’re up in the northwest like I am—and just gliding seemingly effortlessly through an underwater paradise will alleviate stress like you wouldn’t believe.

2. Parkour

Photo from

Photo from

Parkour is often shown off as young men leaping through urban spaces—but it’s far more adaptable (and safe) than leaping from one building to another with a huge drop below. Basically, parkour is the art of getting form one spot to another in the most direct way possible, using nothing but your body & surroundings to propel yourself. This might include climbing, jumping, swinging, rolling and running. An example of how to ‘parkour’ on your daily walk, try adding step-ups on a park bench. Or do little hops across the grass instead of jogging around the path. Pull out your jump rope and skip along the sidewalk. It is absolutely a full-body workout, and high-impact—but it looks like an awesome urban adventure. You can do it anywhere—and with anyone! Talk about a flexible workout plan!

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

3. Sword Fighting

At first, I thought about listing “fencing”—but then I thought about things like Forza, and Kendo. Different kind of sword fighting techniques use different shapes & weights of blades, and emphasize different body parts in practice. In urban areas, a variety of sword fighting classes are shockingly easy to come by—and no, they don’t use real swords. If you’re looking for that competitive edge in your fitness routine, this might be the right choice for you!

4. Aerial Fitness

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

Photo from here, labeled for reuse.

At first, when I heard about aerial fitness classes, all I thought about was circus performers… but then I realized this: Have you ever seen an aerial circus performer who appeared to be out of shape?

Aerial fitness opportunities, like trapeze, aerial yoga, hoop & silk work. It builds & requires strength, stamina, and a fall or two! It can seriously build your balance, increase your flexibility, and it looks like a ton of fun.

5. Trampoline Workouts

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

If you’re less into the high-impact jumping that comes along with parkour, you might want to look into a trampoline workout. Much like aerial fitness centers, trampoline gyms have been growing in popularity over recent years. Trampoline fitness classes focus on engaging the core on the rebound while simultaneously raising your heart rate for a good aerobic workout. They’re good for your balance, stamina, and core strength. And you get to unleash your inner kid!

Have any of you ever tried any of the activities listed above? Which ones? Share your own experience of trying new activities in the comments area below or on our Facebook page.

Fun (and active) things to do with your valentine


Some of us may need the friendly reminder—others know it’s coming, but haven’t come up with the *perfect* plan yet. No worries! First of all, you’ve got a few days to figure it out—second of all… we’ve got some ideas for you.

old-couple-holding-handsAt Fit After Fifty, we want the best for our loved ones—and we want to BE the best for our loved ones. We want to see them succeed in their goals, live happy & fulfilled lives—and we want them to be around for a long time with us. Encouraging loved ones to stay active is an excellent way to enjoy the passing days with them, as well as ensuring that they’re around (and we’re around!) as long as possible.

Here are five fun & active ideas for you & your valentine to do together:

1. Try out a tandem bike.

Are the two of you avid cyclers? There are places in nearly every city where you can rent a tandem bike & take it for a spin. Bonus points if you can find one in a scenic area that’ll be good for a quick picnic. (Might be still too cold out for a long one!)

2. Go dancing!

Dancing is not only good for your body, but it invites closeness & intimacy. Find a beginners class for your preferred dance style (we like Salsa!) and reserve a spot. We must warn you, however—dancing is fun & addicting! You might walk out of your first class craving a second session.

3. Find a team sport to try.

Coax a little information out of your valentine and find out if there’s a team sport he or she has always wanted to try—or get back into. Joining a team sport as a couple will not only give you a healthy activity to do together, but it’ll also likely bring new friends into your lives!

4. Take him or her kayaking.

Kayaking is a really great low-impact workout—and is fairly easy to pick up. You can rent two individual kayaks, or go in tandem in a two-person boat. Sunrise kayak trips are the best! And if you’re in an urban center, whatever body of water you find yourself on is probably right near a nice restaurant with a killer view.

5. Create a scavenger hunt that involves a lot of walking.

This one takes some planning… create & leave clues at places that hold significance in your relationship. Have 5-10 spots within walkable distance—and end the extravaganza at a favorite restaurant or location!

And keep in mind that dark chocolate (in moderation) is good for you! Even better if it involves some healthy fruits or nuts, too…

Remember on this day of love that kissing has some fantastic benefits in boosting your immune system and other physiological perks. And if you plan to get busy with your partner, sex burns calories, so it certainly counts as a healthy Valentine’s Day activity!

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day activity that’s active? Please share it on Facebook, or let us know in the comments section below.

Featured photo from here, labeled for commercial reuse.

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Get Fit in 2013: It’s Never Too Late!

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Sitting Down Is Killing You!

sitting down is killing you

Throughout much of human history we lived on our feet: hunting, tending crops, walking to school, building structures and so on. Today, due to TVs, computers and desk jobs, we’re sitting an average of 9.3 hours a day, which means sitting down is killing you! That’s longer than we sleep!

Why Sitting Down is Killing You

Many studies show that sitting is linked to many unhealthy behaviors such as: high blood sugar, increased blood pressure,excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

There was one recent study that compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment like computers and nintendo systems and the other adults who sat there more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time showed that they nearly had a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause as well as about a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.

Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern for many. Any extended sitting such as behind a desk at work or driving can be harmful. Spending a few hours a week at the gym or engaged in other moderate activities doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk. The solution is to have less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance. For example at work, stand up while eating or on the phone, if you have a tall desk maybe stand for a while. It’s better to have your blood flowing for a while than to sit.

Our bodies were built to be active throughout the day, and this reversal is taking an alarming toll. The infographic below shares the details on how sitting down is killing you by Fit After Fifty.


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