Benefits for everyone!
Imagine finding a workout that promotes increased flexibility, strength, and endurance. It doesn’t put stress on your joints, so you can exercise every day; and you never feel yourself sweating.
More than fifteen years ago, Beth Seaman learned about the ultimate miracle exercise: water aerobics.
“I was experiencing joint problems, so I joined a water aerobics class at Southwestern,” says Beth. “And I was blown away.”
Eager to share her positive experiences with others, Beth became a certified water aerobics instructor that year and soon began teaching classes at Sun City, the Village Pool, and the Georgetown Recreation Center.
“Now I’m such a cheerleader for water aerobics,” says Beth, “because I see how it helps me and I see how it’s helped others. It’s like magic!”
The stress that many types of exercise put on joints and muscles can overwhelm them and lead to problems. In water aerobics, however, muscles and joints are strengthened and supported. Exercisers experience twelve to fourteen times more resistance in the water than on land, says Beth, “but with little to no impact on your joints.”
During each class, Beth leads participants in different stretches, resistance workouts, and water-based exercises; it’s up to each participant to determine how challenging the workout will be.
“You really get out of it what you put into it,” says Beth, who remembers teaching the class to the Georgetown High School varsity swim team. The students were used to swimming thousands of yards each day but found water aerobics to be more challenging than they had imagined.
“It’s harder than it looks,” says Beth, because “in water aerobics classes, all movements are both supported and resisted by water. Different movements, with different forces and speeds, are used in the water than on land.” According to Beth, because the movements complement daily activities, both beginners and advanced exercisers can benefit.
“People come to water aerobics for a bunch of different reasons,” says Beth. Some are athletes training for marathons. Some people come to rehabilitate physically—maybe they’ve just undergone a painful surgery. Others join to overcome stress or get past grief; and still others come to build friendships while pursuing a quality workout.
“It really is the most versatile workout because everyone—beginners, professional athletes, seniors, pregnant women, and people within a rehabilitation program—can all benefit and enjoy the same class,” she says. “The effort and speed of movements are adjusted to each person’s needs, so you can be twelve years old to ninety years old and get a workout that’s tailor-fit to you. Even non-swimmers can safely participate!”
Many times, first-time participants feel self-conscious and wear shirts over their bathing suits, says Beth. “But the next time they come, it’s off, because they realize everyone there is supportive. You can immediately join a class and fit right in.”
“It’s remarkable, and people just love it. We’ve had as many as sixty people registered at one time. At one point I was teaching eight classes per week!”
After a nasty car wreck in 2007, Beth was forced to take a yearlong hiatus from instructing. “It felt like my knees went up into the steering wheel,” she says. “I got both knees replaced at the same time, so I was in a wheel chair for a while.”
But just as water aerobics had helped Beth with her joint problems years before, returning to instruct water aerobics helped her recover from the accident.
“The connection between the people there is amazing,” says Beth. “It really is like a family. Some people get up every day for that class. They live for it.”
For more information about upcoming water aerobics classes at the Georgetown Parks and Recreation Center, visit parks.georgetown.org.