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Water aerobics offers fitness without pain

Staff writer

The best thing about water aerobics is that it gives participants a great workout without pain and achiness, a local instructor said.

Karen Williams teaches water aerobics four days per week for Marion Parks and Rec.

“Margo Yates approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching water aerobics,” Williams said. “I had done it early last year on my own, so I said yes.”

The classes began March 7 and Williams has been pleased with the turnout.

“We’ve had a phenomenal turnout,” Williams said. “The first night we had 16, then 14, then Wednesday’s turnout was low, but we still had class with six, and then Thursday we had 12.”

Two of the participants that week were Mickey and Becky Tibbetts of rural Peabody. The couple had been water aerobics participants when Williams led classes on her own.

“We started about a year ago,” Mickey Tibbetts said. “We were swimming at the Marion pool semi-regularly. We had met Karen Williams and were doing aerobics outside the pool, and then we ran into her at the pool.”

The couple hasn’t taken classes continuously, though. Knee surgery, back surgery and the like interrupted their workouts and then they got out of the workout habit, he said. They were pleased to find out the opportunity presented itself again.

“It’s a good workout and it’s not too stressful because it’s in the water,” Tibbetts said. “It’s not a real hard workout. I’m in my 60s and it’s not real hard but I need to keep in shape, too.”

They go to the pool early to swim laps before class.

“We’re probably going to go about three times a week as long as she’s doing it,” Tibbetts said. “It is structured in such a way that you work at your own level. You can work as hard as you want or as light as you want. Nobody should be scared off, it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of laughter going on.”

Williams said she’s heard from people who had aches and pains before starting water aerobics and now have no aches and pains.

“Water aerobics is great in that you can get a better workout than you can get on land,” Williams said. “The typical breakout is 15-20 minutes of active cardio, really getting our heart rate up. Then we move to upper body.”

Upper body workout is followed by deep water workout, but participants who aren’t comfortable in the deep water can stay in the shallow water, Williams said.

“You feel this weird combination of exhilaration and relaxation,” Williams said. “The beautiful thing about it is any fitness level can come and do it.”

Williams calls water aerobics “a very forgiving, fun way to exercise.”

As people age, they become more susceptible to injury, and water aerobics is a way to keep strong and flexible, she said.

“I like to keep things changed up,” Williams said. “That way you don’t get bored. I think they all should feel a sense of accomplishment. At the pool we don’t do the same thing every single class.”

Williams said she used to instruct fitness classes in the Bown-Corby building, but has not had a workout studio since the building was sold.

“Right now I’m not doing anything beyond the water aerobics because I don’t have a studio,” Williams said. “I’ve looked into all these places but they can’t price it so I can afford it. I keep my prices low so people can afford to come.”

Classes are 6-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Marion Sports and Aquatic Center. Participants can come as often or seldom as they wish. Each class is $5 for both admission and instruction, or $3 if participants have a pool pass.

Last modified March 17, 2016

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