Old Town Hot Springs: Aqua Zumba brings the party to your workout routine
Thursday mornings can be quiet at Old Town Hot Springs. That is until Aqua Zumba begins. Suddenly, the pool deck turns into a party with the sounds of Latin music radiating from the lap pool. Youth campers are dancing in the kiddie pool, lifeguards are feeling the rhythms and anywhere from 15 to 25 class participants begin one of the most unique and enjoyable group exercise classes the facility offers — a class that returns after taking a hiatus last summer.
“Traditional exercise formats stress ‘No pain, no gain,’” said Jodi Glaisher, a certified instructor at Old Town Hot Springs who has been teaching Zumba for eight years. “Zumba embraces the motto ‘ditch the workout and enjoy the party.’ It’s about having fun and making an emotional connection with your workout. You don’t even realize how much work you’re doing.”
Zumba is a group exercise class that focuses on dancing and moving to Latin, Caribbean and other world music. It appeals to individuals of all ages and fitness abilities. The aquatic version takes place in the cooler lap pool at Old Town Hot Springs. It combines traditional aquatic fitness workouts like jumping jacks and running with the dance moves Zumba is famous for.
“The whole idea is that you’re supposed to feel the music. It’s music driven. Everybody should feel successful the first time they do it,” Glaisher said. “We’re not yelling at you to go harder. I tell people all the time, ‘if you find yourself going the opposite direction of everyone else, and you bump into someone, just introduce yourself.’”
Still, Glaisher emphasizes that you shouldn’t underestimate the challenge that Aqua Zumba can bring to your exercise routine. Unlike other Zumba classes that typical don’t involve weights, Aqua Zumba utilizes the resistance of the water to increase range of motion. For most of the class your feet are on the pool floor, but you can also be swimming from side to side or lifting your feet off the ground.
“You use a lot of your arms as you move the water around. A lot of your core and abs and a lot of legs,” Glaisher said. “It’s a total-body workout. When you’re in the water, and music is going, it’s fun, but afterward, you can really feel it.”
In addition to toning your muscles, Aqua Zumba has an important cardio component. The class is interval based and changes in intensity according to the music.
“You definitely go up and down. The analogy they use is ‘when do you burn the most gas? It’s when you’re accelerating and decelerating versus staying at cruise control.’”
One of the nice and unique things about Aqua Zumba is really the unlimited adaptations available to participants.
“Because you’re standing in chest deep water, you can really be doing anything you want under the water. Just come, stand and enjoy and just do the parts you like,” Glaisher said. “You can be moving across the pool, but if you’re uncomfortable with swimming, you can park yourself in one spot.”
Glaisher explains that Aqua Zumba really is a class for everyone, and she has taught those from middle school students to seniors.
“You can get as much of a workout as you put in to it. I really push my fit people, but if you’re not feeling it that day, that’s fine too.”
Aqua Zumba is held every Thursday at 11:15 a.m. through the summer. The class is free for Old Town Hot Springs members; however, guests are welcome to attend for a drop-in fee. In addition to Aqua Zumba, there are traditional Zumba classes four times a week.
Nick Esares is marketing director at Old Town Hot Springs.
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