Every June, when the heat sets in, the swimming pools in Salt River and Lehi welcome members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to join in Aqua Fitness classes, led by physical fitness specialists with the SRPMIC Diabetes Program. These group classes are taught by Physical Fitness Specialists Michelle Long and Rachel Seepie, as well as Roberta Johnston, manager of the Diabetes Program.
Aqua Fitness, or water aerobics, is a series of aerobic movements and resistance training performed in shallow water. Because it’s low impact, it’s one of the safest ways to get into shape. And you can burn a lot of calories in a single workout—according to the Aquatic Exercise Association, 500 to 700 calories in one 45-minute session. (Calories burned depends on the intensity of your workout in the pool.)
Community member Patsy King just started the program and enjoys working out in the water. She was 15 minutes late to a recent class and found the pool crowded.
“I thought it started at 6:30 p.m., but it starts at 6:15, and the Salt River pool was already full of ladies young and older, like me,” King said. “The water felt cool as I joined the ladies jogging around the pool. The music was upbeat; I give it a 95.”
King said she joined water aerobics to strengthen her injured knee.
“I got a good workout with Rachel as the instructor. I wanted to join the water aerobics to help my knee get stronger; the exercising isn’t as strenuous in the water,” said King. “I injured my knee in January and re-injured it in February, and it has hampered my ability to join my fellow Senior Steppers in our usual activities.”
King said after six months of doctor’s care, using a cane and knee brace, wearing compression socks and going to physical therapy, she is slowly starting to dance again with the Steppers. “I feel the water aerobics will help me strengthen my knee, plus give me a good workout,” said King. “It felt good, and I think I kept up with the younger ladies pretty good—at least I thought I did.”
During the class, the instructor stands on the pool deck and demonstrates the movements for the people in the water to follow.
“In our Aqua Fitness classes, participants exercise standing up in the swimming pool most of the time,” said Seepie. Aqua Fitness includes low- to high-impact aerobics, dance, exercises that replicate sports movements, plyometric moves and resistance training, where participants use their own body weight, (foam) noodles or other tools to work against the water resistance. “It provides an overall workout,” said Seepie.
Seepie encourages everyone to participate, including individuals with arthritis, pregnant ladies, those who are overweight or have diabetes, and those who are just looking to add diversity to their exercise regimen.
“You can benefit from Aqua Fitness classes. Water workouts are excellent cardiovascular-training and muscle-conditioning workouts,” she said. ”Each instructor brings her own flavor to her class, so there will be variety at just about every Aqua Exercise class throughout the summer.”
Aqua Fitness classes are held at 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Salt River pool and Wednesdays at the Lehi pool. Participants must be age 14 or older. If you have any further questions, call (480) 362-7320 or review the Community Announcements at www.srpmic-nsn.gov. The last day for Aqua Fitness classes will be Wednesday, July 31.