Aquatics programs are a great way for seniors to stay active. Water-based exercises are much easier on the joints, in comparison to exercises such as walking or weight lifting, which is a particularly important point for older adults. Due to their effectiveness, there is a high demand for aquatics program for seniors across North America. Beyond offering an opportunity for senior citizens to stay active, aquatics programs also present a social activity for seniors in your community — an often-overlooked benefit that improves the lives of senior community members.
Here’s how to design an aquatics program that seniors in your community will love.
Provide a Safe Space
Embarking on something new can be intimidating for some, especially senior citizens. A busy pool with boisterous strangers splashing around can make trying something new that much less appealing. When introducing an aquatics program for seniors, ensure to reserve one pool or clearly block off a part of your pool, so that the seniors have plenty of space to feel at ease. Offering classes during a less busy time of the day may also be helpful, so the instructor can focus on the seniors, while the seniors can also pay attention to their own aquatic movement.
Offering only one class can quickly become dull, especially if the seniors in your community are participating more than once a week. Consider offering a variety of classes with differing benefits within your aquatics program, such as getting their heart rates up, improving balance, and building strength. The respective goals of these classes can help decrease risk for heart disease, cultivate greater coordination, and help build strength and endurance. Take measures to cater to the seniors in your community who are a little more active and open to trying new things. Consider introducing more unique classes, such as aquatic yoga or aqua pilates.
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Through providing quality aquatic fitness classes, word will spread (a more traditional type of marketing, since a smaller proportion of seniors use social media) and your new members will likely recommend your classes to their friends and family. A positive and qualified instructor is imperative for this reason. When hiring instructors for an aquatics program for seniors, look for someone who is experienced, but is also well-versed in working with seniors, as it bears significant differences from working with children or adults.
To further entice seniors to join your new aquatics program, consider offering a free class to all first-timers. Having to pay in order to try something new for the first time may deter some potential members. By providing them with a memorable first class, they’ll be more inclined to purchase future classes and tell their friends about this introductory offer. Another method is to partner with local senior communities, retirement residences, and other local groups that support seniors, to increase class registration and make your cost per visitor less of an issue.
Aquatic centers should always ensure that they provide inclusive programming that has something for everyone in their community. Once you’ve crafted an irresistible aquatics program for seniors, let PerfectMind’s cloud-based parks and recreation software help you better manage your new aquatic center members.