“This was my first Hydro Jump class with Sherri at Hempfield recCenter. I am a natural born water lover and started to get into aqua fitness during my pregnancy and postpartum period. It was a great way for me to ensure that I was getting a good cardiovascular workout yet maintaining safety guidelines during that time. This class was nothing like other aqua fitness classes I have attended. I loved the HIIT principles and the trampoline added another element of fun and challenge. I would return! I am also always looking for a swimsuit that is both fashionable yet provides appropriate coverage for aqua fitness, parent toddler swim lessons and chasing a toddler around a pool. I am eager to try my first Aquamore swimsuit!
“Growing up and all through college, I was an avid tennis player, dancer. These activities kept me in great shape, full of energy and engaged in regular exercise. After college, moving out on my own, getting married, and becoming a mom of two amazing daughters, fitness was something that got set aside in my life. Following my second child being born in 2016 as well as caring for my oldest daughter through a critical illness, I decided that it was time to get back to being healthy! Not being a fan of “traditional” exercise, I went in search of something that was engaging and fun, provided something new every workout, and didn’t feel like “work” in order to continue working towards my personal fitness and wellness goals.
Several years ago, I discovered water walking offered in my area. I tried it and LOVED it. This summer, I found out about the local Aqua Fitness classes offered and decided to try a couple. It took one class for me to fall in love and become a regular! Since 2017, with Aqua Fitness, good nutrition, and a great support system, I have been able to lose over 50 pounds and I continue to work towards my own personal fitness goals.
Currently I attend Aqua Jam, Aqua Jump, Aqua HIIT and Bootcamp at Shawnee County Parks and Recreation in Topeka, Kansas with my favorite instructor Sharlie Peterson. Sharlie is always upbeat, positive, and encouraging. Her classes are engaging and effective and it is evident in everything she does that she has a passion for aquatic fitness. I was so inspired by her that I became an instructor myself!
Aqua fitness has shown me that I can be someone who works out, I can be someone who is fit (or getting there!), I can move my body in ways I didn’t think I could, and I can work toward my own health goals while having fun and engaging in exercise that is always different at every workout. I have also learned that my body is more capable of doing things than I gave it credit for. Aqua fitness has also helped me to reduce my anxiety not only because I am feeling better about myself, but because it gives me something to look forward to doing that I truly ENJOY. The hour I am in the water I forget everything else going on in the world and just move.
The things that are most important to me when shopping for a new swimsuit or apparel for the pool deck are comfort, fit, material, and movement. I like the garment to be comfortable but have structure and support, fit snugly but not tight, material to be smooth, and for the garment to move with me as I teach and exercise both in and out of the water. Also, when at home, outside of my Aqua Fitness classes, I chase my three dogs, two daughters, and go for walks around the neighborhood.
Water exercise provides an amazing workout where you don’t overheat or get sore like traditional exercise. Your body is supported by the water and helps to increase flexibility and mobility of muscles or muscle groups. It is the perfect balance of strength training, cardio, and endurance training all in one! and, it’s FUN!”
"I water exercise at the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Pools. Topeka, Kansas. I enjoy Aqua Jam, Aqua Jump, Hilt, Bootcamp (All of them!) with my instructor Sharlie Peterson; and her love for the sport really reflects in the workouts and the inspiration she provides to all of us! She makes it challenging and fun! I have always loved to swim but it has been a while and I took classes last year with Sharlie and just loved her spunk, drive to make us better and her ability to make working out fun! Two years ago, I had been doing high impact exercises and I felt like my heart was going to explode. I went to a doctor, was referred to a heart specialist, and within days, went in for heart surgery and found out my “widow maker” was blocked 99%. I’ve always been an advent exercise freak but recognizing I cannot do the same high impact as I use to, I was drawn back to the water. It has been so wonderful!! It’s not hard on my joints, or heart, and yet my “non-resting” heart is at 60!! It goes to show you can still get a wonderful workout in the water, while enjoying the sun, friends, and a great instructor!! When water exercising, I like a swimsuit that will be form fitting on my chest but lose below so I can “move and grove” to the Sharlie’s music! While staying home I like to walk my four 90lb dogs six days a week for approximately 45 – 60 minutes. Also, Zumba! I recommend water exercise because you can be outside in the sun and water. It an awesome way to stay in shape, yet not damaging to your body or heart while doing it."
"Our instructor, Sharlie Peterson, has taken the Topeka Community's Aqua Exercise program from a bologna sandwich to a Filet Mignon in just 3 short months, and during a pandemic too! I love aqua exercise because I can do way more in the water than I can on land and it is so much easier on your joints as well. With the variety of classes offered, I, along with others, can find the class that fits the needs and challenges that we are each looking for. Our instructor inspires, lifts, and challenges us every day to be more and do more. I'm actually becoming certified myself, so I too, can inspire and challenge others. Not only have I become more fit during the last 3 months of class, I've acquired many friendships and accountability partners too! I am looking forward to continuing my classes through the Fall and Winter and then next Summer, leading classes myself! I can't begin to tell you how Sharlie has been a blessing to me and so many others! Thanks again for everything!"
"My name isJo Hardenand I am 66 years old. I was born in Hays,Kansas andI have lived in many places such as California, Washington, Maine, Texas, Oklahoma, but mostly though I live in Littleton, Colorado.I have been attending Aqua Jam water exercise classes with Sharlie Peterson for 5 weeks. Sharlie Peterson is my water exercise instructor and has inspired me so me so very much in the water exercise classes and the challenging aquathons. She inspires me through her daring and unique moves. Sharlie provides us with clear and precise guidance during the moves. Because of her leadership I have decided to become a certified aquatics fitness instructor. I decided to try water exercise after browsing Facebook and saw out the corner of my eye this event about Shockwave Aqua Jump, and I checked it out. Found out that I love it so much that I start course studies to become certified as a Shockwave instructor. Water exercise has improved my life in many ways, but specifically I have quit smoking. I knew that I had to so I could give as much effort as I could to the class. I have lost 5.1 pounds and 1 inch. My "restless" leg does not bother me near at much! When shopping for water exercise swimwear I want coverage, for all sizes, that looks pretty, and I really would like the swimsuit to be chlorine resistant. I also prefer to wear water shoes when water exercising, I have very tender feet. I stay healthy during this quarantine by planning on buying a trek bike and a mini tramp soon. I want to get on the nearby trails and explore. I absolutely plan to recommend water exercise classes to seniors and people with disabilities. I have seen just how mobile they become. Water makes everyone equal."
"Water exercise is very much enhancing my quality of life. I have fibromyalgia and was pretty much unable to do most of my on-land exercises which I did forever. And buy a stroke of luck my Jim bought out another gym with had a pool and I went for a free class and was hooked in six months my body was much different and I decided to start teaching water aerobics which I have done since 1996. I taught in California at private clubs in the Y and now I live in Florida and teach at the pools where I live what a difference it is to me and I advocated to everybody I really love to here with my class tells me how it’s changed their body shape how they breed not just physically but it changes the mentally and I really challenge them on a daily basis to keep their bodies in shape. This is a picture from the class we always do noodles in the air as candles and sing happy birthday for everybody’s birthday."
Barbara M. enjoys teaching classes in Florida.
July 9th, 2020
"I am originally from Washington DC. I have a 93-year-old mom and had a mother-in-law who modeled for me staying active was always important for good health, especially as we age. I have lived in Central Pa for over 40 years and when I turned 60 noticed some discomfort in my knees. I was exercising in a gym regularly and walking. I went to an Orthopedic Doctor who did X-rays of my knees and was told I had some arthritis and he recommended I get in the water to do my exercises. I said, "I don't do bathing suits" and the Dr said, "Get over it and get in the water". So, I joined an aquasize class at the local Y in Camp Hill, Pa. where I participated several times a week for 7 years. I discovered a whole new arena for exercising and loved it. After I retired, I discovered senior aquasize at Bethany Village, a local retirement community, in Mechanicsburg, PA. The classes were taught by Jen Thuma and I was over the top excited to be in her classes from the very beginning. Jen does amazing choreography with great music and gives us a thorough workout. She often incorporates yoga stretches as well. It's just a great head to toe workout! In the past 2 years have I had a torn meniscus in each knee which required surgery. After physical therapy and healing I was able to return to Jen's classes and know that my healing was much faster because of the exercises I've done continuously before I needed surgery. In 2018 I moved into another retirement community in Central Pa. with a state-of-the-art Wellness Center and a pool with salt water. However, the instruction in this pool is nowhere near the caliber of Jen's classes, so when the pandemic restrictions are lifted, I will be returning to Jen's classes in the Bethany pool.
Water exercise has been wonderful for my whole body as my arthritis progresses as I age. I do not require any medication, as long as I do water classes. During the pandemic all pools were closed so I availed myself of Silver Sneaker land classes via Zoom as well as classes from our local Gold's Gym via Zoom as well. I'm happy that the pool where I live is opening this week and Iook forward to getting in soon. Since Jen teaches at Bethany, which is not allowing outsiders from the community at this point, I look forward to the day I can resume her classes as she is THE BEST!
When I purchase bathing suits I only wear from Swim and Sweat as they are comfortable to get on and off, and have a nice variety of styles and colors. I especially like the suits made with the krinkle fabric. I always wear RYKA water shoes as they offer good support and are made for a woman's foot. During the pandemic, all pools have been closed, I have been doing Zoom classes from Silver Sneakers and our local Gold's Gym. These have been great, but not the same as being in the water. Our pool opens this week and I hope to do some of my own water walking as no formal classes are allowed at this point. I have observed that many seniors can do water classes much longer than land classes so I know that I will be in the pool as long as I am able."
Debbie K. enjoys senior aquasize with Jen Thuman atBethany Village Mechanicsburg, PA.
June 26th, 2020
"This message is to thank Jen Thuma for her hard work and dedication to our swimming exercise class. As one of only 4 or 5 males in the class, I have found the exercise class to be beneficial to me personally. It has helped me with my balance. I enjoy the group instruction Jen provides. She varies the day to day exercise in a way that is enjoyable. We have fun exercising while she has just as much fun instructing us. We also enjoy listening to music she provides. Congratulations to Jen on her nomination. It is well deserved."
“I first began water exercise for weight loss, but it has become so much more for me. It has been a stress reliever, and mental booster. As I have aged and health issues with knee and hip replacements, the pool exercises have helped me recover quickly and keep moving.My favorite class is Aqua Zumba and the instructor is Sandy DeCaldas. Sandy just makes her classes fun, like you are not working out. She choreographs her routines to the beat with light, energizing music that pushes you to work a little harder. But overall, it is Sandy’s smile, enthusiasm and queues that pushes you to perform the exercises correctly and to your ability. This allows her students of all ages and abilities to enjoy her classes. Sure, they are hard at first, but that is her challenge to you.When choosing a swimsuit, I always look for the chlorine resistant material. I prefer the one-piece swimsuit with the high neckline.Currently I stay active at home by walking when the weather is good and doing some online workout classes”.
Kimberly B. enjoys Aqua Zumba with instructor Sandy DeCaldas at LifeWorks of Southwest, Middleburg Heights, OH.
May 26, 2020
“My name is Carol Menard, I currently reside in Marysville CA. I exercise at In-Shape Health Clubin Yuba City, CA because they have 2 pools and I love to swim! The gym offers water classes 5 days a week in the mornings which is perfect for me. I have done weights but my go to class 2 hours per day is Aqua Fit. There are 3 other instructors, but far and above, Elicia Stewart, is the best. A great instructor is one who is able to engage with everyone in the class. On the average there are about 28 people in the 2 classes she teaches and she holds everyone's attention with smiles on their faces. Her choreography to the music incorporates the exercise so it's fun, especially when her facial expressions match what we are doing. I got interested in water aerobics while on vacation in Mexico. Unable to attend while I was working, the ability to begin attending a gym near my home, happened when I retired. I was very on chemo at the time and rather than wallow I started taking classes. It was fun and I met people but then we moved. Luckily there was another In-Shape Health Clubclose to my home.I moved to the area two years ago. I don’t know many people so becoming one of the regulars in the pool each morning I have made new friends. I had a Liver Transplant almost 17 years ago and developed fatty liver afterwards. My doctor prescribed cardio and lots of it to help with that. So, I swim on the average 11 hours a week. I’ve lost 20 lbs. since I’ve been at this gym. I have double that to go, but I’ll settle for 20 more. My ideal suit would have great support especially in the bust and tummy. It would not be cut high at the leg and it definitely has to be chlorine resistant”.
Carol M. enjoys Water Exercise with instructor Elicia Stewart at In-Shape Health Club, Yuba City, CA.
May 11, 2020
“My gym membership the last 2 years enabled me to do deep water aerobics and an arthritis class. Both have improved my health and wellbeing. Before our world cruise ended last week (6 weeks early due to Covid-19) I faithfully kept up my pool exercise in the infinity pool on the Viking Sun. Here I am in my Krinkle suit relaxing after my work out!”
Dorsey J. enjoys Water Exercise at Sussex County YMCA in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
February 24, 2020
“February 21, 2019, I sustained a very serious pelvic fracture due to osteoporosis. I was hospitalized initially and then transferred to an inpatient rehab facility. Following discharge, using a walker, I received home and then outpatient physical therapy. I could not walk very far, and I felt that I needed something additional to assist in my rehab. I was now using a cane in addition to a walker. A lifeguard at a facility advised me to attend the water aerobics classes taught by Amy Parker. I have been going to her classes 3-4 times per week.
Amy’s classes have done more for me physically and emotionally more than I could ever have imagined. Amy’s positive attitude and personal interest in each participants progress is admirable. She has been teaching these classes approximately 17 years and each session is fresh and challenging. She teaches power aquatics, which is a high intensity water workout that burns calories and helps tone the body, calorie burner classes, aquatic personal training and rehab, and newcomer's orientation classes, etc. Each class I attend has 25-40 participants.
I now don’t need any assistive device to ambulate and I am much stronger to walk longer distances. I will continue to travel farther to attend Amy’s classes. I feel she inspired me initially when I started her classes and she continue to motivate me to do my best. Amy is well deserving of this award. Her smile and countless hours she invest her time and knowledge, should be recognized and rewarded.”
Beverly M. enjoys Water Exercise with instructor Amy Parker at Jones Center Pool, Mount Pleasant, SC.
February 21, 2020
“My name is Gail Lang and I would like to ask consideration to be given to Amy Parker as an “Aqua Instructor of the Month”. I joined Mount Pleasant, South Carolina Community classes taught by Amy 5 weeks ago and I must say the work out, enjoyment and community experienced has far exceeded my expectations!
I am a woman in transition after recently retiring from 40+ years of a fast paced, jet set, corporate career. Brain surgery 12 years ago and breast cancer diagnosis 6 years ago did not stop me! 3 years ago, I developed an issue with my hip that has limited my ability to run or cycle, it was recommended to me by my physical therapist that I look into water aerobics.
Dear neighbors encouraged me to participate in a class to see how ‘I like it’. It’s great!
Amy is conscientious and encouraging to our diverse group of women and men participants – she pushes but with a reminder always to do what you can!
I am a warrior like so many others and firmly believe I am responsible for my health and well-being. Amy is helping me stay true to that commitment. Despite my adventures, I have had a blast!”
Gail L. enjoys Water Exercise with instructor Amy Parker in Mount Pleasant, SC.
February 21, 2020
“As a retired military, my post retirement job was 8 hours of sitting. Had I realized our local gym had a pool that accommodated post job hours I'm not entirely sure I'd have gone. My pasty white, overweight body was not what I wanted to see in a swimsuit. “My fellow manatees were happy to share where they got their beautiful swimwear.
Retiring from my desk job I finally had time and a realization that my health is a priority. Started modestly, attending a couple aquatic jazzercise classes at Gold's gym in San Antonio. I immediately felt at home since the gym is senior saturated. I joked with my husband that we looked like a colorful bunch of manatees...not slim, but comfortable with who we were and friendly. I’ve never been fond of group anything, so I established a solo, self-designed program that focuses on flexibility and strength (mostly lower body) with moderate cardio. I've slowly increased reps to a point I should break it up into sets.
“I love it. Our gym's pool is a welcoming and peaceful place. Body image and age are non-issues when your goal is health related.” Some folks enjoy a supportive, inclusive social experience. Then there are people like me, off in the corner with my Bluetooth headphones on listening to the playlist on my phone in my bag as I exercise. Good for the soul.”
Debra R. enjoys Water Exercise at Gold's Gym in San Antonio, TX.
February 19, 2020
“I participate in Amy’s classes from mid-November to mid-April as I also participate in a class at an outside pool during warm weather. Amy is aware of this. That being said, the contents below reflect my experience with Amy.
I started Water Aerobics with Amy Parker in 2016 after completing a round of PT following surgery on my left shoulder to repair a complete tear in my rotator cuff and stitch up torn tendons ... both damaged while exercising with resistance straps in an exercise class. Even after the round of PT was completed, I only had 82% range of motion in my left arm. My therapist encouraged me to register for a water aerobics class as I would be able to temper my movements and form to fit my (what I hoped would be) increasing range of motion.
While this would seem to be enough of an incentive, I needed a form of exercise that, along with Weight Watchers, to which I could commit to help me lose the 50 lbs. that I gained when we moved to South Carolina.
Flash forward to 2020 ... I lost the excess weight and have maintained a total 107 lb. weight loss for 3 1/2 years and have 100% range of motion in my left arm. Happy? Yes, indeed! Thank you, Amy!”
Wendy F. enjoys Water Exercise with instructor Amy Parker in Mount Pleasant, SC.
December 9, 2019
“Water aerobics saved my life. When I first started water aerobics I had been recently medically retired from my job as a registered nurse because of heart failure, and a biventricular pacemaker implant. My cardiologist told me I needed to exercise to strengthen my heart. I have severe arthritis in my left knee, and arthritis in other areas of my body as well from 40 years of nursing. So, my exercise options were limited. My local gym had an indoor pool and offered water aerobics classes. I decided to give it a try.
My first class left me exhausted. I had to go home and take nap. But I kept it up. Three times a week I would drag my tired body to the gym. Gradually it became easier, and I no longer needed to take a nap after class. By the time my 3-monthcheckup came around, I was considerably stronger. My cardiologist was impressed. Per my echocardiogram, my ejection fraction had increased from 19% to 50%. Gradually I added other water aerobics classes to my exercise routine. Within a year I was doing water aerobics 6 days a week. Then I started doing back to back classes whenever I could, usually 3 days/week. My yearly checkup per echocardiogram showed my ejection fraction at normal. I felt so much better. I can even do light hiking and walk long distances.
I have been faithfully doing water aerobics for 5 years now. I owe all that to water aerobics. Great cardiac conditioning without the stress and impact on my joints. We recently moved out of state to retire. My number 1 requirement in selecting a town to retire in was that they had to have a gym with an indoor pool that offered water aerobics classes, so I could continue my exercise regimen.”
Cindi R. enjoys Water Aerobics 6 days a week, at retirement community in Sequim, WA.
April 9, 2019
“I had a torn meniscus on my left knee, and I joined the wellness center so I can strengthen the muscles around my knee and not cause further injury. I love warm water pool and the community we are building with the water exercises classes. Instructors are awesome also. I take two classes back to back three times a week now because I am stronger. I know water exercises are easier on the joints, so I desire to get to a point where I am swimming someday. As I get older, getting fit is harder especially after injury or lack of exercise. However, we have a choice every day to improve, so I continue to choose a ‘kinder’ exercise on my body and enjoy the music and water movements along the way with others.”
Amy V. enjoys Aqua cardio, Aqua Strength, Aqua Dynamics and Aqua Zumba at the Montage Wellness Center in Salinas, CA.
April 9, 2019
“I was introduced to water aerobics by a friend about 25 years ago and then I became an instructor. I’m a water aerobics instructor in a warm therapy pool at a wonderful facility in Peoria Illinois. I’ve been doing this for about 19 years. My class consists of all types of people. I have anywhere from 10 to 20 students a class 5 days a week. I’m not sure that I could move as well as I do without my water aerobics. I've had a hip replaced and some arthritis in my lower spine, water really reduces my pain level."
Linda K. enjoys teaching Water Exercise at the Riverplex Fitness Center in Peoria, IL
April 3, 2019
“I belong to the local YMCA and exercise five mornings a week. I do water aerobics for two hours each morning. Weather permitting! My bone density has improved dramatically, the more I jump etc. It has built my osteoporosis numbers by 8 points!!! Wow, my Dr. is really impressed. I am 84 years old, feeling like 74 and all my numbers are even better! I believe water classes has kept me in good health and [my] Swim and Sweat [black twist Krinkle suit] is fabulous - it keeps it shape after every washing in chlorine water outside in the sun!!!”
Sandy Z. enjoys Water Aerobics at the YMCA in Lakewood Ranch, FL
This month we celebrate Judy Joy Birtcil of Chico, California. For the past 34 years, Judy has been developing her craft as a beloved water exercise instructor [...] Students work hard in [Judy’s] classes and have fun. I believe that Judy Joy Birtcil exemplifies why water aerobics is important and how it should be taught!”, said Yvonne Freeman, one of Judy’s adoring participants [...] Thank you Judy, for all that you do to serve our Aquatic Fitness community!
This month we celebrate Ming Schrader of Denton Texas. Ming is being recognized by her students for all her fabulous work [...] As her student Linda P. says, “When you find an aquatic fitness instructor who teaches classes you want to plan your life around, the whole game changes” [...] hank you to Ming Schrader for always going above and beyond, serving the aquatic fitness community!”
Becky’s favorite part about being a group fitness instructor “is meeting people and developing friendships. The members in my classes are a fantastic group of people. They show up, they work hard, and they have fun. I have a very supportive group that are always willing to try new things along with bringing new ideas to the class”.