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Aerobics proves easier and cooler when exercising in water

During a recent Water Aerobics class at the Yosemite High pool, Lee Ruecke flexes his muscles to show what great shape he’s in at 77 years of age.
During a recent Water Aerobics class at the Yosemite High pool, Lee Ruecke flexes his muscles to show what great shape he’s in at 77 years of age. Sierra Star

They came to stretch, run in place, jump rope, walk with exaggerated steps, and since they were in a pool, a few threw in a little swimming for good measure. The early morning temperature may have been rising quickly, but the 30 or so who came to exercise were feeling nothing but good, healthy, and cool.

This is 70-year-old Janie Gaines’ third year of water aerobics at the Yosemite High School pool.

“It’s so much easier on my joints,” Gaines said. “I’ve been going to the Fitness Zone (now Mountain Muscle) for six years, but during the summer I give my joints a break and come here because my arthritis doesn’t become as inflamed as when I work out with weights.”

Joyce Laulom, who will only admit to being “59-plus,” has also attended for three years, calling the exercise good for the body and good for the heart. She’s particularly happy that she lost six pounds this year.

Lee Ruecke, who just turned 77, agreed with Laulom’s assessment.

“It’s fun. It’s healthy and it’s good for you. Just look at me,” said Ruecke with a huge smile while flexing his muscles to emphasize his fit physique.

Even though Gary Nolan, 53, has only been coming a few weeks, he’s already noticed a difference. “This is so good for you. It’s easy on your body, and is great if you have a hard time walking because of your weight. I fill the workout every time I get out of the pool, but not the pain.”

For 75-year-old Jean Elling, water workouts are her form of therapy after suffering a stroke 12 years ago.

Water aerobics is known for body buoyancy at chest level, with 85-90% body support. Water provides more resistance than air, so results come faster than when doing the same workout on land, and water helps improve flexibility and balance, with most experiencing a wider range of motion.

Offering a moderate level of physical fitness, this type of exercise is good for all ability levels.

Gaining momentum and popularity in the 1980s, water aerobics has not only proven to relieve depression, stress and anxiety, but also builds cardio, strength and resistance, is easy on the joints, increases flexibility, and reduces blood pressure. The noticeable added bonus is keeping cool during these long, hot summer days.

Instructor Peggy Decker has seen the summer class grow in popularity and in size. The first year, 15 attended. Today, there are between 25-45 regulars.

The hour-long class is offered 8:15 - 9:15 a.m., Monday through Friday ($4 daily, $15 weekly, or $30 monthly).

Details: Lindsay Adler, (559) 683-4667, ext. 335.

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