Working it out

After the session had ended, Lora Haws slowly and painstakingly made her way towards the exit. Haws, who has multiple sclerosis, wears a leg brace and walks with a cane. But when she’s in the Yosemite High School pool, doing water aerobics, she has the freedom of mobility she doesn’t have on land.

“Taking water aerobics has helped me so much. I really see a difference,” Haws said. “In the water, I can do things I wouldn’t normally be able to do.”

Haws, along with her friend Sandy Adair (who also has MS), is one of the 40 or so attending the summer water aerobic sessions.

It turns out that exercising in water is not only good for the mind and body, but has the added benefits of beating the heat, and offering a good time for socializing.

Shirley Krankenberg, 75, multi-tasks - chatting with her friend, Gladys Cone, 69, while running in place. Krankenberg has been to the classes for four years, and said she loves how good she feels afterwards.

“It definitely keeps us moving,” added Cone, who said she can’t wait to turn 70.

Shirley Bryant, 73, has attended classes since 2010.

“This is something we can do without injuring ourselves,” Byant said. “I just wish they offered this all year long, instead of just during the summer months.”

“This is important for the community because they can use the pool,” Peggy Decker, who has been the instructor for four years, said, “and it’s important for the health of those who attend because water work-outs are much more forgiving to the joints.”

Water aerobics is known for body buoyancy; at chest-level, there is 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.

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

“I do this for the community,” Decker continued. “I do this for the ladies ... and I do this for Steve.”

In the female sea of moving arms, kicking legs, and colorful hats to shade faces, Steve Powers, stands out as the sole male.

The one-hour water aerobics classes are offered 8:30 - 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, at the Yosemite High School pool (Harry Baker Swim complex).

The cost is $4 daily, $10 weekly, or $40 monthly.

Details: (559) 683-4667, ext. 356.