Four weeks ago, I went to a fun “pool party; and, I have “partied” every Saturday morning since. Our community’s YMCA added an Aqua Zumba class to the Spring/Summer 2013 Group Exercise Schedule. Taking an Aqua Zumba class was on my long Bucket List of “things to do before I die.”
About five years ago, my Baby Girl and some of the women who worked in our family-owned business started to take Land Zumba classes one evening a week. They encouraged me to come along. I wanted to join them, but I knew Mr. Arthur’s joints (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Ms. PN’s feet (Peripheral Neuropathy) could not withstand the floor pounding steps of the cha-cha, merenque, salsa, reggaeton and mambo dance movements.
Last year, I did venture into a Land Zumba Class at the YMCA. Though, it was a beginning class, I was intimidated by the younger, fitter, and hipper women in the class. Here I was, a fast approaching 70-year-old whose grace and rhythm, as a dancer, disappeared more than 40 years ago. This class was a painful experience for two reasons. One, the physical pain to my deconditioned lower extremities pounding down on the hard floor; and, two the emotional pain of feeling inadequate and being judged by others in the class. I finished the 60-minute class, but did not go back.
For weeks, leading up to the first Aqua Zumba Class, I questioned whether —
- I was prepared to appear in a swimming suit at a busy community pool on a Saturday morning?
- I was able, given my mobility limitations, to even enter or exit the pool?
I arrived early for the first day of class. Hoping no one would notice, I entered the pool area in the largest beach towel I could find. It surrounded my body from chest to knees. There were a lot of people sitting around the pool deck. Most of them were relaxing, conversing or observing the preschoolers in their early morning swim class. Quite frankly, a 70-year-old woman in a large beach towel did not seem to tweak anyone’s interest.
Then, I began to worry about how to make a smooth entrance into the pool. Using the pool ladder I felt was my best option rather than lowering into the pool from the deck as the other women did. I gradually and carefully focused on each step as I descended into the pool. Grateful, I made it without a problem. Since, I never learned to swim, I chose a spot toward the pool’s shallow end. Thereafter, everything went smoothly.
The class started with a warm up dance to Latin music. Wendy, the instructor, demonstrated the different dance moves from the deck. The tempo changed and we were stretching, twisting, and splashing to the music – shouting along with Wendy. Every time a new song started, Wendy instructed us on a new and different dance move. Squatting, jumping and moving my hips in a circle pattern while moving around; then adding hand movements to spray, push, and pull the water was the ultimate full-body workout.
Aided by the buoyancy of the water, the beat of the music, and the energy of the instructor; I was able to hold my own in a class of younger women
Aqua Zumba rebirthed my rhythm and grace, met my special needs, and opened the door to a challenging water based workout to improve my:
- Aerobic/Cardiovascular Endurance
- Muscle Resistance
- Joint Mobility
Aqua Zumba provides a safe haven to lose inhibitions and focus on the exercise. It’s definitely a freeing and empowering feeling exercising in the water.
The party atmosphere of Aqua Zumba combined with a safe and effective fitness workout is a win-win for me.