We are a group of women of a certain age exercising or exorcising in our community pool, which we commandeer each morning Monday to Saturday from 9-10 a.m. This routine is more than water aerobics; it is supportive and healing.
Our leader, Irene McLachlan, learned the 96 aerobic water routines in Yuma, Arizona. The exercises cover the whole body and aid in balance. While even fingers, shoulders and chests get exercise, the neck is excluded for fear of dizziness. Irene brought the routines to Summergate Village in 1994 and, at first, exercised alone until others joined her. Now our group includes about 20 members, yet the number in the pool varies each day from as few as two to as many as 12, with an average group of six. We pay a toonie each month for the monthly birthday lunches at a local restaurant and for gifts/cards, if a member is ill.
Irene composed the exercises in muscle groupings, including twists, kicks, jumps, and arm calisthenics. Some of the routines have colourful names, like, Watergate, Pendulum Swing, Play the Piano, Scrub on Scrubbing Board (you have to be old enough to remember how to do that), Squeeze the Dough, Practise Golf Swing, Mule Kick and Jump over Imaginary Log. A large board, with the names and order of the exercises sits by our pool, in case Irene is away.
Irene can count, talk and focus us on the 96 exercises, legs rocking, arms waving, hips gyrating - gossip and giggles galore. How she does it is apparently by letting her body lead. If she uses her hands to make a point, she might forget where she is.
I joined Summergate Village in 2004, and swimming with this bevy of beauties not only keeps me flexible and pain free, the warm water soothes and the conversation is informative and often entertaining. We do lots of laughing, singing and telling jokes.
We give advice about the best handyman and we provide details about cataract operations and hip/knee replacements, so we can all be prepared.
I cherish the support and caring of the group. There are no senior moments in this crowd as we find the words for each other, our own unique seniors’ charades. Sometimes, it even gets saucy. I walk in late one day and tell the ladies I had a hard night - without skipping a beat - a chorus of “lucky you.” There is no holding back the laughter. I guess you have to be a little nutty to join our group, but we sure are doing something right.
By the way, this was written before three men joined our group. We might have to change our name - and the jokes!
SEPTEMBER 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
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