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Water aerobics a good fit for those with joint ailments

By Nancy Arcayna

LAST UPDATED: 4:11 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012

A diverse group, young and old and of all sizes, assembled for the Aqua Fit class at the Kroc Center in Ewa Beach.

The class is a good fit for anyone suffering from joint ailments or injuries since water eases the impact of exercise. This can be especially important for overweight participants.

The class still provides good cardiovascular conditioning as well as flexibility and strength training using foam dumbbells.

We donned buoyancy belts to keep us afloat as we ventured into the deep end. For a gentle warmup, we started with a light jog around the pool and movement in the water to get the blood pumping. The belt felt like a corset since it needed to be extra tight so it wouldn't ride up during the exercises.

About halfway through the class, we were each provided with a pair of foam "weights." Although they are nearly weightless out of the water, once they are submerged they provide a great deal of resistance.

I tried to keep the weights underwater as much as possible to get a better upper-body workout. For example, while running or jogging across the pool, we were given the option of holding the weights underwater for a tougher workout or floating them on the surface for less resistance as we all continued to move our legs.

Instructor Chelsea Hughbanks encouraged us to go at our own pace, choosing our own intensity level. The bottom line was simply to keep moving.

She continually reminded us to breathe. The task of breathing should come naturally, but I caught myself holding my breath on more than one occasion.

And a word of advice: Don't try to keep up with your neighbor. Some people moved gracefully around the pool, while others remained stationary. According to Hughbanks, it didn't matter as long as you remained engaged in the exercises, since the water around you provides constant resistance.

Though you are surrounded by H2O throughout the class, don't forget to bring a bottle of water to leave on the edge of the pool so you can stay hydrated.

You might not work up a sweat like you would during a traditional aerobics class, but the workout can be just as strenuous as exercising on dry land.


“Tryouts” features exercise and wellness classes and other fitness activities. Reach Nancy Arcayna at or call 529-4808.


>> Aqua Fit (cardio, flexibility and strength training; ideal for those with joint ailments or injuries)
>> Aqua Sculpt (uses buoyant water equipment for core, upper- and lower-body toning)
>> Aqua Jog (high-intensity cross-training)
>> Aqua Cardio (fun workout for cardio, flexibility and range of motion)
>> Where: Kroc Center Hawaii, 91-3257 Kualakai Parkway
>> When: For class schedule, call 693-8346 or check
>> Cost: Members, free; nonmembers, $11-$14 day pass plus $3 class fee
>> Note: Most classes ages 16 and older; some allow ages 13-15 with adult

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