Water aerobics take it easy on the body

News editor

Before water aerobics class Monday at USD 408 Sports and Aquatic Center in Marion, an older man walked in with a cane, and even that was laborious. Once he was in the water, though, he moved around without any apparent difficulty.

He wasn’t part of the water aerobics class, but he demonstrated why some people choose water aerobics for exercise.

“I can’t walk too good, but here in the water you’re buoyant and can walk easier,” participant Jackie Hett said. “It’s a health issue with me.”

Hett, 86, estimated she has gone to water aerobics about four years, and she goes all five days a week it is offered. She is able to keep up with all of the exercises the group does, led by Heather Calhoun.

“She gives us a good workout, build up our heart rate, work out every part of our body,” Hett said.

Calhoun took over the classes from Greta Smith in November.

“I love it,” Calhoun said. “It gives me a daily exercise routine.”

Participants are able to set their own intensity level for the workouts, depending primarily on the depth of water they do the workouts in. Without a floor to stand on, working out in the deep end of the pool takes more exertion, she said.

The first 45 minutes of classes are always the same routine, but the final 15 minutes change daily, she said.

Hett estimated more people from out of town than from Marion attend the classes. Erin Wiebe of Hillsboro is one such participant, attending twice most weeks.

“I want to keep active, I need to exercise,” she said.

Wiebe said she is able to do the water aerobics without any soreness afterward, unlike higher-impact workouts.

Hett and Wiebe also said the classes are good socialization.

“It’s a nice social event,” Wiebe said. “We talk, we laugh, we have this little group feeling.”

The hour-long classes are at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Calhoun said Mondays and Thursdays have the largest crowds.

“We’ve had up to 21 people,” she said.

She also teaches classes in the evenings, but those aren’t used much.

There is no fee for the classes beyond the regular $2 admission to the pool.

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