Latoya Grindley, Staff Reporter
When you think pool, you think leisure, and an intense aerobic programme may be the last thing that comes to mind, if at all.
Growing in popularity among persons seeking new and exciting ways of working out is aqua aerobics. With the same fitness and health objectives, persons can now take it to the pool to see results.
Operating Splash Aqua-Aerobics since 2006, Tessa Lewin told Flair that the biggest advantage of doing an aerobic workout in the pool is that your joints are protected, as you are not pounding on concrete which causes friction and can lead to joint problems or aggravate existing issues.
With different routines in each class, aqua aerobics is ideal for swimmers and non-swimmers.
For students who may be very sceptical about working out in water, especially in the deep, Lewin, who is also one of two instructors, explains that they have equipment to assist those students.
"If you are not a swimmer, it is fine. We supply all the equipment for our students, and for both swimmers and non-swimmers we have the deep-water belt, which keeps them afloat in the deep end, preventing them from touching the bottom of the pool.
Classes are separated into two, but conducted simultaneously, with Kevin Stupart leading the aerobics sessions and Lewin the aqua therapy classes.
"Aqua aerobics is more intense and is for persons who want a really good workout. The water-therapy sessions help persons increase mobility and flexibility. So for persons recovering from a stroke, joint issues and other injuries which affect their mobility, the aqua-therapy classes will help."
Often recommended by doctors, the programme is tailored to deal with the individual needs of students.
On a recent visit to one of the classes held at the St Andrew High School pool, Flair met Venessa White, a beneficiary of the programme, who said she encouraged her mother who recently suffered a stroke to participate in one of the aqua-therapy classes.
"I am here today because my mother suffered a stroke and I know this programme will be good for her. I am not opposed to the gym, but my joints can't really manage the workout. I tried jogging, and again that didn't work with my knees. When I do the aqua aerobics, I don't feel any discomfort at all," she explains.
White also spoke of the difference in how her body feels and how her clothes fit.
According to Lewin, "Weight-loss is the biggest part of why persons sign up to do aqua aerobics. You burn more calories in the water, because you can physically do more. The average time to see a difference in weight and feel the difference in your body is about a month. For persons with joint and mobility problems, after four months, they will be able to feel the difference."
The classes are open to persons of different gender, age and fitness levels.
"We build you to a certain fitness level. Everyone is welcome to join," notes Lewin.
Classes are held in the evenings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and in the morning on Saturdays. The instructors lead from either the deck or in the pool, and depending on the workout, students are required to use weights to increase the cardio experience during aerobics. In a fun and non-discriminatory atmosphere, the classes run for an hour.
Splash Aqua-Aerobics happens at the St Andrew High School for Girls. Telephone: 851-2632.