• Aquatic Pilates for Senior Wellness

    Aquatic Pilates for Senior Wellness

By Melissa Frampton, Wellness Specialist at The Connection at Twin Towers


For those experiencing lower back pain, Aquatic Pilates exercises may be a great choice. When Pilates movements are taken into the water, abdominal and oblique muscles (core muscles) can be developed leading to improved posture and the alleviation of lower back pain.

This non-impact type of exercise focuses on strengthening and stretching movements using the resistance of water.

3 Aquatic Pilates Exercises To Try

Canoe – works core, quadriceps and gluteal muscles.

Equipment: none

collage of woman demonstrating exercise

Starting Position: Feet shoulder width apart, arms bent, elbows at 90 degrees in front of body, elbows remain close to body.

  1. On exhale rotate upper body to the left, kicking left leg straight out in front of you.
  2. On inhale bring leg down and turn body back to starting position.

Repeat 6-8 times exhaling on turn and kick, inhaling when returning to starting position. Repeat using right leg.

Melissa’s Expert Tip: throughout the exercise, keep core engaged, spine long, relaxed neck, forehead, nose, chin, sternum are all in a line.

Mermaids – works abdominal, obliques.

Equipment: side of pool

Aquatic Pilates Mermaid Exercise

Starting Position: Place right arm straight out touching side of pool and left arm is relaxed and by left side. Eyes face forward, core is engaged.

  1. On inhale, move right hip away from the wall and bring left arm up over head near ear. 
  2. On exhale, move right hip towards the wall and bring left arm down and across body in front.

Repeat 6-8 times on each side.

Melissa’s Expert Tip: throughout the exercise, lift chest, lengthen neck and look forward.

Side Accordion – works abdominal, obliques, shoulders, biceps, and inner thighs.

Equipment: pool noodle

Aquatic Pilates Side Accordion Exercise

Starting Position: hold pool noodIe in left hand and extend out to the side of the body (trust the noodle to support you because it will) and fall sideways.  Move right leg sideways away from left leg about 2 feet.

On exhale, bring the noodle down beside your left thigh and bring right leg in to meet left leg.
On inhale, move the noodle back out to the side of the body and right leg back out.

Repeat 6-8 times on each side.

Melissa’s Expert Tip:  throughout the exercise, keep core engaged, lengthen neck and look forward

Breathing Through Pilates

Breathing is a key component of Aquatic Pilates. The fullest benefits are achieved when the breathing and desired movement together become the focus.  When breathing during these exercises:

  • Emphasis is on a deep diaphragmatic inhale through the nose (spine lengthens).
  • Follow this with a a forced exhalation through the mouth (spine is in slight flexion while also engaging the deep abdominal muscles).
  • Inhale as you open up or extend the body,
  • Exhale as you close or flex the body.

Evaluate Your Breathing

*Breathing Tip – evaluate how deeply you’re breathing by loosely lacing the hands on your low abdomen with fingers together.  On inhale, fingers should separate as ribs expand sideways.  On exhale, fingers should come back together as abdomen contracts.

The fitness & wellness center at Twin Towers, The Connection, is where you’ll find an expertly trained team who creates workout routines and exercises that are specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool.  The Connection is in Cincinnati, Ohio and open to the community and memberships are available. For more information contact us online or give us a call at 513-853-2000.

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