Prior to speaking with Club Solutions about her experience with New York Health & Racquet Club (NYHRC), Cornelia Mills, 55, had called her Aquacise group fitness instructor, Judy Wyman, to express her love of Aquacise — a water aerobics class — and request that Wyman host more classes.
“I was just speaking with Judy about how much Aquacise means to me,” said Mills. “I just love it! So much so, I wish they had more classes each week.”
Mills first took an Aquacise class at NYHRC in November of 2011. The first time she walked into the pool area, she had a towel wrapped securely around her waist. She weighed 200 pounds and had recently made it her goal to focus on fitness.
“I had lost my job, wasn’t feeling good about myself, and thought, ‘this is not going to work,’” said Mills. From there, she decided to devote the next two months to getting back into a healthy state.
“The first time I took an Aquacise class I was immediately hooked,” said Mills. “There was great music, attractive surroundings and immediately the instructor, Judy, was so positive.”
Mills loved the class so much, she began going everyday, even following Wyman to different NYHRC club locations (10 locations total) to continually take her classes. “Judy is just great,” said Mills. “Every person who comes into the class, she makes feel comfortable. She also provides modifications for every movement.”
According to Mills, modifications were key to her success. The year before, Mills had discovered that she had arthritis in her knees. Between arthritis and excessive weight, she had a difficult time moving. “When I started working out, I couldn’t do much of anything,” said Mills.
The mobility that water exercises gave her, with Wyman’s modifications, were a successful combination. After calling out a move, Wyman would suggest modifications she could do to either increase or decrease the difficulty or intensity. If Mills’ arthritis was causing her a lot of pain, she could easily modify the movement to ease her suffering.
Wyman said she calls out modifications so that the class is applicable to all members, at every fitness level. According to Wyman, pools and water aerobics are extremely beneficial due to this versatility. “Pool exercise classes are good for absolutely everyone,” said Wyman. “You can be de-conditioned, an athlete, pre- or post-surgery — you get out of it what you put into it. Everyone does everything their own way. Aquacise classes are a total-body workout, and offer flexibility, balance, strength and cardio.”
Between taking Aquacise classes almost daily, swimming laps and following a diet, Mills eventually lost 75 pounds. “Exercise is a part of my life now,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for the class.”
According to Mills, NYHRC’s pools are a valuable asset, and part of what interested her in the club. “The pools are stunning,” she said. “They’re huge and clean, and impossible to miss. When you take a tour, you either start out at the pools or end there.”
How could you use your pool to its fullest potential? If you offer water-based classes, advertise them to all of your members — don’t just keep them on the backburner for your elderly or low-mobility members. According to Mills, NYHRC’s Aquacise classes are filled with an assortment of people that range in size and age. “There are people from all different walks of life who attend,” said Mills.
By Rachel Zabonick