New wave of water workouts attract the young and fit

Mon Jun 9, 2014 5:19am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While older, overweight or injured exercisers have always valued the cushioning effects of water workouts, a new wave of trendy, lively and high intensity group fitness classes is luring the young, the hip and the able-bodied into the pool.

Aqua Zumba, boot camp, and synchronized swimming are among the classes experts say put every muscle through a range of motion even the fittest can’t approach on dry land.

Lori Rose Benson of the YMCA of Greater New York said seniors populate daytime pool classes, but the evening attracts a younger, party-oriented crowd.

Synchronized swimming, a class of elaborate strokes and stunts set to music, has become a favorite among Brooklyn hipsters, she said. Aqua Zumba, also called “pool party,” is popular with the younger crowd throughout the city.

“Really, it depends on the time of day,” Benson said. “Aquatic exercise can have all the benefits of a really tough cardiovascular workout. It’s what you put into it.”

Three times a week at an Equinox fitness center in New York City, swim coach Ellis Peters leads Aqua Boot Camp, an hour-long interval workout he said takes aim at every major muscle group.

“I try to use every inch of the 25-yard (23-meter) pool,” Peters said of the class, which employs flotation devices in a fast-changing sequence of running, jumping jacks and core exercises.

“We usually don’t do any one thing more than a minute,” said Peters.   Continued...