Is it a workout or it is a pool party? Well actually, it’s both.
Aqua Zumba is a new addition to the Zumba fitness phenomenon and it’s making waves with Zumba’s 14 millions fans in over 150 countries. Pulsating international beats along with Latin inspired dance moves combine with aqua fitness to create a full body, low impact workout.
Coal Creek YMCA Aqua Zumba instructor Chris Longfellow has been teaching fitness classes for over eight years. Leading formats from step to cycling to toning, she says it was Zumba that really resonated with her.
“I grew up with Latin music and it’s something that is just near and dear to my heart. I hear it and I just want to move,” said Longfellow.
Longfellow brings high energy, enthusiasm and plenty of encouragement to each class, where she has a couple rules.
“I have three rules in my class. Rule number one is that people keep moving, they do something. Rule number two is to have fun, because Zumba is really all about having fun. And the third thing is repeat rules one and two,” said Longfellow.
Classes are 45 or 60 minutes long and start with a warm-up intended to get the body ready for exercise. Then you move into a series of easy to follow dance moves choreographed specifically to each song. You’ll walk forward and back in the pool, step side to side, turn, kick and even hold a few moves for balance work. There are jumps, arm sequences and high knees all designed to get the heart rate going.
According to Longfellow, working against the water’s resistance builds muscle.
“You’re actually working all your muscles all the time. It’s very easy to move in the air, but in the water you have to push and pull against the water. It works all parts of your body,” said Longfellow.
Exercising in the pool makes the workout low impact and easy on the joints, which is great for anyone recovering from injuries. With regular classes, Eileen O’Brien has seen the arthritis in her joints subside.
“At 83, it’s wonderful because my joints were so arthritic that I couldn’t move some of them,” said O’Brien. “I’ve had shoulder replacement, knee replacements, and now everything is moving. In three week’s time, Chris has done wonders with me.”
This is also a workout that can help you reach your fitness goals. Over the past three months, frequent Aqua Zumba’er Mollie Williams has seen her whole body shape change.
“I’ve lost weight - a lot of weight actually,” said Williams.
And even if you don’t consider yourself a big fan of the pool, chances are you will still get a kick out of Aqua Zumba.
She never thought of herself as a water baby, but now with Aqua Zumba, O’Brien says she won’t miss it.
“It’s my one priority,” she said.
Norman Sammons is 96 years old and doesn’t miss a day.
“I’ve been doing this since 1993,” he said. “My favorite part is the music and the exercise at the YMCA, it keeps me going.”
So let Aqua Zumba make a splash in your fitness routine. When it comes time to kick, shimmy and turn, just remember Longfellow’s rules: keep moving and have fun.
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