Segments in this Video

Pools: A Gift for the Ages: Introduction (03:32)


Aquatic exercise offers the greatest physical fitness benefits for older adults. Understanding water's impact on physiological processes helps individuals get more out of therapy and training. Denise J. Heimlich works at the Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community Center and got to design her own fitness center.

Learning Objectives (03:29)

Heimlich wants to list the benefits of aquatic fitness, design a complete program, discuss rehabilitation and prehabilitation techniques, and talk about generating revenue from a pool. Pools are expensive to own and properly maintain. Heimlich quizzes the audience on their experiences with aquatic exercise and backgrounds.

Benefits of Aquatic Fitness (04:56)

Benefits include its comfortable, fun, reduced joint stress, easy to modify exercises, provide pain relief, automatically resistant, provides an increased range of motion, not self-conscious, and a safe environment. Fat is more buoyant than muscle.

Older Adults, the Obese, and Chronically Ill (02:59)

Benefits include increased circulation, reduced joint pain, increased range of motion, and better thermal regulation. Just being in the water improves the body. Muscle grows stronger and balance improves.

Drawbacks of Aquatic Exercise (01:52)

Drawbacks include not weight bearing, balance on land will not be improved, increased skin reactions, and incontinent individuals cannot participate. Heimlich hopes more studies are performed about balance and aquatic fitness.

Maximize the Benefits (02:18)

Heimlich teaches three different types of classes: aerobic conditioning, pain relief, and strength and conditioning.

Trained in Aquatics (03:35)

Instructors need a solid foundation in anatomy and physiology in order to teach the class. The American Council on Exercise Continuing Education Center, the Aquatic Exercise Association, and Water Art trains teachers. Heimlich explains how buoyancy, inertia, action, resistance overload and acceleration affect water aerobics.

Water Physiology (02:43)

Individuals have lower blood pressure and heart rates while performing aquatic exercises. Heimlich recommends using Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) or the talk test to discover how hard participants are working.

Training Environment (04:43)

Individuals burn more calories walking in the water than on land. When Heimlich taught at Indiana University she would train athletes in the water to help save their joints. In the water, weaker muscles need to work harder than our stronger muscles.

Training Implications (02:25)

Training implications include faster movements increase resistance and additional surface area makes movements more difficult. Plastic paddles, gloves, noodles can be used in the water. Heimlich cautions against using foam dumbbells.

Body Position (02:17)

Leading with a palm is more resistant than the edge of the hand. Increase surface area to make movements more difficult. Traveling adds resistance.

Action/ Reaction (03:24)

Stopping your body from reacting to movements exercises the core muscles. Water aerobics work out the stabilizer muscles. Stress posture to older individuals.

Neutral Position Shoulders (02:34)

Always start individuals in the correct posture to assure maximum conditioning. Instructors need to understand which muscles an exercise impacts. Use increased range of motion to its benefit.

Consider Body Composition (01:59)

Heavier and wider individuals use more energy when traveling. Measure intensity by implementing RPE or talk tests. Try different exercises to engage and challenge participants.

Considerations for the Inexperienced and Frail (05:22)

Keep near new participants and don't give them new motions until they can maintain the neutral position. A small movement can cause large reactions due to buoyancy. Older adults have difficulty adapting and will not react as easily as a young person.

Prehab/ Rehab/ Maintenance (08:22)

Prehabilitation reduces muscle atrophy, enhances circulations, increases immune system, and reduces the risk of anesthesia. Heimlich describes a case study of a patient who experienced bone death. After six weeks of prehabilitation, Kay had a great recovery.

Rehabilitation (06:07)

Surgical wounds need to be closed and the patient must obtain a medical release. Often posture and pain are improved in the water. Aileen used water therapy to rehabilitate after a stroke.

Maintenance (04:21)

Physicians should provide a list of water resources for people to attend. Heimlich hopes more studies are performed about balance and aquatic fitness. Primary balance occurs in the ankles.

Pool Design: Part One (05:39)

Heimlich describes how she designed her pool to be inviting, comfortable, and also accommodate lap swim. Hydraulic lift chairs must be at three feet deep. Older adults should not be in 110 degrees water.

Pool Design: Part Two (06:15)

Heimlich describes why she added three rails for the pool by the stairs. The only people who use the hydraulic lift chair are a woman with a benign brain tumor and another with a congenital limb defect. A deep well can only be used if an instructor or physical therapist is present.

Other Design Elements (04:21)

Audience members share other design elements including stair steps for deepening water, salt-water chlorination, and stainless steel railings. Other instructors weigh in on salt to chlorine conversions benefits and drawbacks.

Income Generating Ideas (06:58)

Revenue ideas include partnering with hospitals, private swim lessons, grants, aqua babies classes, and outpatient PT.

Credits: Pools: A Gift for the Ages (00:25)

Credits: Pools: A Gift for the Ages

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Pools: A Gift for the Ages

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $179.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $269.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $179.95



Learning how the unique properties of water affect physiology and anatomy can enhance the ability of both fitness programming and physical therapy to be more effective. This video explores research and case studies that demonstrate quicker and more complete rehabilitation using a pool and shows the success of preparing people in advance for joint-replacement surgery. The video also provides ideas and insights for using a pool to generate income and help offset a facility’s operating costs.

Length: 92 minutes

Item#: BVL131358

ISBN: 978-1-64023-744-5

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.