Calla Willett teaches general Deep Water Aerobics classes at the Mount Vernon RECenter.
Mount Vernon For people with joint or arthritis problems, the gentle resistance that water aerobics provides is the perfect remedy for fun and exercise.
The Mount Vernon RECenter on Belle View Blvd. offers 13 classes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week, starting on Sept. 3. There’s Power Finning, Shallow-Deep Combo and Swimming for Fitness, to name a few. The classes are tailored for various athletic abilities — for both the young and old.
“We get a lot of referrals from doctors and chiropractors, said Aquatic Director Britta Stratford, 34. “For people who have joint problems, water exercise is very good because it minimizes damage to the joints while helping people keep physically fit,” she said.
The class time can affect its clientele: older retirees tend to go in the morning while the working crowd prefers the evening.
Calla Willett, 39, of Fort Belvoir, teaches three different water exercise classes. Her Deep Water Exercise is cardio-intensive, so it’s a fat-burning workout in 12-feet of water using floaties. “We do fat-burning for the first half hour, and the second half hour is toning, weights and balance,” she said.
For her Aqua Pilates class, she said: “There’s no running or jumping or getting your heart rate up.” It focuses on working core muscles, balance and posture.
The Arthritis Water Exercise class is in the shallow end of the pool. “We don’t use any equipment; it works on flexibility and range of motion,” said Willett.
“Water aerobics has the bad stigma of being for old people, but it’s for everybody,” said Laura Nelson-Bolick, 53, of Mount Vernon, who has taught the Aqua Fit and Tone class five days a week for 23 years at Mount Vernon RECenter. With little impact on joints, her goal is not any major muscle group or major weight loss. “It’s good overall conditioning,” she said.
“Laura is enthusiastic and it makes us enthusiastic,” said Kathy Moore, 76, of Fort Hunt, who has been taking classes for 12 years. “We’re older, most of us, and [Laura’s] aware of what’s good for our bodies.”
The class has made a huge difference for Kim Engle, 56, of Fort Hunt, who has multiple sclerosis. “It has helped my balance, helped combat fatigue and overall supported good health .… It’s a great place to come for both your body and soul.”
Cindy Baum of Belle View has taken Aqua Fit and Tone three times a week for 14 years. “It keeps me walking and just helps me in general to function in life,” she said.
When guests purchase the Aqua Flex Pass at a base rate of $127 for 10 visits; $240 for 20 visits; or $352 for 30 visits (valid for four months), they can drop in and use any of the nine Fairfax County rec centers. Discounts are also offered. Drop-in rates are more flexible at $12/county residents; $15/non-county. For more details on classes, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.