Making Aquatic Exercise Fun
There is no denying that swimming is a full-body, cardiovascular workout with many benefits. As a low-impact sport, lap swimming improves endurance while protecting joints from stress and strain. However, there is a potential downside — it can be boring.
Aquatic group exercise programs can solve this problem. These programs provide not only a great workout, but also one that is engaging and social. It’s a win-win, as members can gain the health benefits of aquatic exercise and make friends at the same time.
Cherry Creek Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado, offers a variety of group exercise classes to spice up its aquatic programming. The club has seen tremendous growth in participation in aquatic classes due to the vision and commitment to excellence of Terri Visger, group exercise manager at the club. Visger helped to create an extensive list of classes. Members can choose between six different classes offered at a variety of times throughout the week.
Liquid Fit is a vigorous workout that incorporates various exercises and equipment such as hydro-bells, the Gymstick and noodles, for example, for added resistance. Another class, Liquid Intervals, has participants work through a variety of different intervals for increased cardio benefits.
The club also offers two dance classes: Aqua Zumba and Aqua Bamba. The latter incorporates traditional Zumba dance moves with the strength benefits of the Gymstick.
According to Jeffrey Olson, the fitness director at Cherry Creek, one of the more popular classes is Aqua Kickboxing. “It is a very unique class that you don’t see offered at a lot of places,” he said. “It has definitely been a more popular format for us here.”
Offering diverse classes helps to target a wide range of members: old, young, male, female. “Our classes have a variety of different intensity levels, so a wide range of people can participate in our classes,” said Olson. “We have dance classes to make it fun and energetic. We use a variety of equipment to keep people excited. It is not a stale program.”
Keeping things fresh is crucial. Offering the same classes can become monotonous, so providing diverse programming helps to keep members engaged. “We try out new programs regularly as well,” said Olson. “We have one called AquaBata that we are trying out right now. It is a Tabata class so it really favors those who are looking for that higher intensity, but enjoy being in the water in a joint-friendly environment.”
Olson explained that the key to a successful aquatic group exercise program is staffing. All of the aquatic instructors at Cherry Creek are AEA certified and many hold a number of other specialty certifications.
“You can have the best formats, music and everything else, but if you don’t have the right instructors in place then it is not going to be a successful program,” explained Olson. “You need to get those people who are engaged and love teaching in the water.”