The residents in the pool were kicking their feet and swinging their arms to the beat of the music. Becky Boulo is on the pool deck encouraging, “Left jab, right hook, bam!” Her enthusiasm is catching. Her passion for teaching, for exercising and for having fun makes the workout even better.
Becky is trained as a PE teacher. She’s been working out in the pool with her students for more than thirty years. She has incorporated the new Tabata style workout, primarily a cardio exercise program, into her AquaFit classes. The training is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout featuring exercises that last four minutes: 20 seconds work out hard, 10 seconds rest, repeat 6 to 8 times with a one-minute walk. Dr. Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher, designed the interval training routine to improve both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Aquabata (Becky’s name for the class) is even better in the water where everyone can work at his or her own level. The water provides the resistance while keeping your body afloat.
Aqua Tabata participants experience weight loss, increased endurance and more flexibility. It is an extremely effective way to boost metabolism and is easy on the joints. Flexibility may also be increased in water as the movement is in various directions, while adjusting to the push and pull of the water allows for an increased range of motion. The buoyancy of the water also helps reduce impact that is felt during land-based exercise.
Similar to a jazzercise exercise class, residents are jogging, doing jumping jacks, cross country skiing, frog jumping, kickboxing and cycling. The moves are sometimes done with foam dumbbells or noodles to enhance the workout. The music Becky adds to the workouts are mostly 70’s tunes and a few highly requested country songs that keep their bodies moving and the workouts upbeat.
She likes for the residents to have a visual while they are working their muscles. “Shark attack!” she yells as she tells the group to push that shark away. Right arm, left arm, swing, swing, repeat. The swinging motion, pushing against the water, is working your arms. “Core on!” she often says as a reminder to move their feet and swing their arms. Remembering to keep your back straight, your tummy pulled in and your glutes (buttocks muscles) tilted forward keeps your core strong and your balance even. It provides a better workout and strengthens your muscles. And strength, she says, is the key especially for seniors.
Next to the Wellness Center pool, the exercise equipment room has a group of residents working on the treadmill, the elliptical trainers and the other weight machines. The classroom with exercise balls, bands and steps has a large group of residents working on balance and strength exercises. The Wellness Center is the place to be every morning at 8:00am!
Two of the Aquabata participants work out on the machines for thirty minutes and then jump in the water for the last thirty minutes of class. Fred says, “There’s no way I can do the entire class with Becky. She keeps us moving.” When he jumps in the pool, he walks down to the deep water where the exercise is a little harder. Six foot three and former Air Force, he exercises almost every day. Kathy, his wife, does the full routine three days a week. The two have been coming to the class for a few years. Prior to their official move-in, they took advantage of the classes while they were on our Wait List.
Wait List Benefits
Springmoor encourages residents to participate in all of the activities on campus once they are officially on the Wait List. The Krafts, also both often seen in the pool, had a garden spot in the Resident Garden long before they moved. Getting to know other residents was a big plus for them. Several of Becky’s class members have been participating since she began teaching at Springmoor seven years ago. New residents have jumped in and found the water workout to be a perfect fit for their exercise needs. Marilyn had never taken any kind of aerobic classes before. She says, “This is not only fun exercise but it starts the new day with energetic enthusiasm and refreshing strengthening. This opportunity is another means of improving one’s balance in the process.”
Gail says she loves the Aquabata class. At this morning’s class, the smiles on her face said it all. She was breathing deeply but having fun at the same time. She does the water aerobics class three times a week and the treadmill every other day taking Sunday as her rest day. Janet loves the deep-water afternoon class with the dumbbells and noodles. “It’s easy on the joints and great exercise.” The deep water adds to the core strengthening routine. Staying afloat while exercising is an added dimension to this class.
Aqua Fitness Fans
Joyce moved in only a few weeks ago. She had been taking classes at Rex Wellness Center in Cary but now only needs to walk across the street and jump in the pool. No traffic, no hassle! It’s as if the class has come to her doorstep. Larry and Wanda took water aerobics daily for twenty years at the Rex Wellness Center before they moved in. Larry is quick to say, with their excellent frame of reference, “Becky and Kris give us the most complete joint exercise we have ever had.” He is convinced that, if all Springmoor residents got such a workout, the entire community would be standing tall and pain free.
Becky teaches morning and afternoon water classes in both pools at Springmoor. Kari, Kris and Traci teach a few water classes also. They all agree that the best exercise is the one that keeps you motivated. From the size of this group, this truly is the most popular class this month! Everyone is chopping wood (hands together, swing from high above the water across your body, into the water and to the knee, repeat), pretending to be a child’s rocking horse (one leg forward, one backwards, rock to the front, rock to the back) or scooping up the water (holding your hands like a large shovel and scooping up the water from your hip, across your body and up to your shoulder). The visual images Becky has everyone imagining makes the workout easier. The music keeps you moving to the beat.
A Few Laughs
Kicking the door closed is a standing water exercise, kicking your foot forward against the resistance of the water, as if closing the door. Kicking your foot backwards was one she will always remember. As she told the class to swing their heel to their backside, one resident told her husband to come to her end of the pool so she could “kick his butt” instead of her own. The pool filled with laughter, joking about all the images Becky had them visualize as they moved their bodies, strengthened their core and enjoyed an early morning water workout.
Want to find out more about our Wellness Center AquaBata, as Becky calls it? We would be happy to give you a tour of the community and introduce you to a few pool enthusiasts. Call us today at 919-234-7626.