Pool's waters can be healing for seniors

Staff writer

Physical ailments like arthritis may not have a complete cure, but water can help ease the pain.

For women participating in water aerobics sessions at USD 409 Sports and Aquatic Center, working out is like taking care of a car.

“I keep telling these guys it’s like a lube job to our bodies,” aerobics instructor Greta Smith said. “It keeps our muscles and our tendons limber, and helps us get through each day with less pain.”

Because of shoulder problems and arthritis, Sheryl Cole has been coming to aerobics sessions since they began nearly five years ago.

Cole has seen her mobility on land improve, because she can do more movements while in the water.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “With the other ladies, we’ve made some really good friendships through this.”

The workouts involve cardio, stability work, and stretching.

“There’s days when we would have a session where everybody’s getting a lot of stuff off their chest, there’s days when we talk about nothing but food,” Smith said. “It’s a workout for us on all different levels.”

Smith said potential participants sometimes do not join because they do not own or like wearing swimsuits or cannot swim.

“If you would have told me that I was going to be in charge of a swimming pool, in a swimming suit, in the water every day, I’d laugh because I was one of those people,” she said. “People are living in pain, and they really don’t have to.”

Smith said newcomers must start slow or their muscles will hurt from new movements.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” she said. “This is a good way to be able to use it, not lose it, and it doesn’t hurt you. I took this job, and I found out how much better I can feel. I will never not be in the water again.”

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