The Chatfield swimming pool's water aerobics class meets three times a week to noodle around in the water.   GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The Chatfield swimming pool's water aerobics class meets three times a week to noodle around in the water. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Summertime provides a chance to be buoyant and aerobic, to defy the gravity of the situation. Area residents take advantage of that opportunity through water aerobics classes offered at the Chatfield swimming pool, three times a week during the summer.
“The water provides a buoyance effect which allows your body to perform exercises and moves without the impact and pressure of gravity on land,” said Shari Hamann, water aerobics instructor. “In the water, you can reduce the gravity pull by about 60 percent.”
Hamman said exercising underwater is a great thing to do for one’s body. “The water also keeps you cooler so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard,” she added. “Any move you make in the water is beneficial, as you are working against the pressure of the water and it strengthens and improves the endurance of your muscles.”
Hamann’s class, which began June 9, meets three times a week at the pool, and participants get the benefits of a dry land workout without the stress on joints that land workouts can cause. Plus, they get to use pink water noodles to enhance their exercise.
Hamann highlighted, “Noodles are provided. This year we received new noodles, so they give you a great workout.”
She explained she enjoys teaching the class for various reasons, beyond noodling around.
“I think this is my 16th year at the Chatfield pool. I have always loved water aerobics,” she said. “It allows me to get a good workout and stay relatively cool in the water. Exercising to music is also fun, and by instructing, I have no excuse not to go and exercise.”
She added that over the years, she has met many wonderful people.
“It is very satisfying to see the improvement of the class members,” Hamann said. “Some have never exercised before and find it is easier in the water.”
The class averages approximately 12 to 15 people, of all ages, each night this year. The most who’ve joined Hamann last year was 23 in one night, and 21 this summer.
The instructor is pleased to see a wide range of people in the pool – though the class is primarily comprised of women, she has had a few gentlemen join over the years.
“You can do water aerobics at any age,” she said. “The ages in our group range from mid-30s to mid-80s. The water makes movement easier and not such a stress on your body joints and muscles, so no matter what your weight, height or ability, you can do exercise movements much easier in water. After water aerobics, you feel mentally, as well as physically, rejuvenated. There is great satisfaction from the participants when they can do movements in the water that they can’t do on land comfortably.”
Hamann stated the class has something for everyone and is flexible.
“I plan the class for the average workout. If you want a more strenuous workout or want less, it is not a problem,” she said. “No matter what your physical ability, the water is good for you. You are strengthening and working your muscles by just moving them in water. There is a lift chair available if you are unable to climb up and down the ladder stairs.”
She said the class is all about fun. “There is sometimes too much laughing and chatting, so I have to talk very loudly when giving instructions,” Hamann said. “You do what your body allows you to do, and no one judges you on your abilities, size or age. It is fun to see the progress that is made by the group as they get stronger, gain endurance and confidence. The most feedback I have gotten from participants is that they feel great, relaxed and have more energy. I always feel better after the class, too.”
She noted that her water aerobics students are “pretty die-hard ladies,” in that they’ll brave the water all 10 to 11 weeks, even if a chilly evening happens to descend.
“The times that class is cancelled is if there is thunder, lightning or the temperature outside is below 66 degrees,” Hamann said. “We have had class in light rain when it is warm. The pool is heated, so it’s pretty comfortable most of the time. We have very dedicated people who look forward to the class and don’t want to miss a class.”
Hamann invited anyone interested in working out buoyantly to put on their swimsuit and grab a water noodle for ultimate underwater exercise.
“Our class is held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 5:45 p.m. until 6:45 p.m. You can join at any time. You can pay by the night or for the season. Come as many nights a week that fits your schedule,” Hamann urged. “Cost is $30 for the season or $4 per time and if you come three times a week for the 10 weeks, it costs a $1 a time. That’s pretty reasonable to get a fun workout.”
She expressed her appreciation to the city for reopening the pool and reprising the class each summer.
“I am very thankful the city of Chatfield supports the pool. I was in elementary school when the pool was built,” Hamann recalled. “You could purchase a block for the wall of the building. This pool has been there for my childhood swimming lessons, my children took lessons, were lifeguards at the pool, and now my grandchildren enjoy going to the pool when they visit.”
She said she dreams that one day Chatfield will have an indoor-outdoor aquatic center.
“The time and availability is limited at the pool, and it would be great to be able to have enough time to have children’s exercise classes,” she concluded. “You can have so much fun doing movements to music in the water that you don’t even realize you are exercising. All ages can benefit from being in the water!”