Aqua Exercise-Senior Inspirations
By Cleo Lampos
Aqua exercise has become a passion of mine for two reasons. Dorthea and Louise, both senior citizens who inspire me to “suit up and show up”at the gym pool twice a week. These women prove the benefits of being in the water.
Dorthea is 74 years old. She swims forty laps in the pool three times a week like a shark on a mission. With a smile. In a one piece suit over a slim athletic body. After her efforts, she lounges in the hot tub for ten minutes “to warm up her muscles.” When I first started the aqua exercise class that meets paralell to the lap lanes, she spotted me huffing and puffing to keep up. After a few weeks, she stopped swimming laps long enough to tell me, “Don’t give up. It will get easier.” I didn’t and it did. Later, I learned that Dorthea is legendary in the gym for her physical fitness and encouraging spirit. When I don’t want to get out of bed early in the morning, I think of Dorthea and slip into my skirted swimsuit. When I get to be 74, I want to be half the woman that she is.
Louise is closer to my age. She just passed 69 and checked off a big event from her bucket list. Since her mid twenties, Louise longed to peruse the great art museums of Europe. A chance to go to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Finland presented itself. Problem? Over the years, Louise allowed gravity and sedentary living to invade her life. Walking around in the world class art galleries would not be possible, unless…. Unless she lost weight and toned her legs and core muscles. In one year. Feeling like a beached whale, Louise joined the aqua exercise at the YWCA in her town. Slowly, she stayed afloat longer and more easily. Weeks splashed into months. Eventually, thirty pounds melted from her body, leaving her knees strong enough to navigate the granite floors of art museums. Last month, Louise spent over two weeks on her dream excursion into the art world with a close friend. All the watery hours in the pool paid off in creative memories.
Senior heroes from the formerly flabby can be found anywhere when you take the time to spot them. Yoga, golf, or walking the trails, they keep their bodies active and their minds focused. They are my inspirations to keep on keeping on in the world of exercise.