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Making the shift from water to land aerobics #SOL24

March 17, 2024

I have documented here my love for water aerobics. I don’t know what it is about the pool workout that I love so much, but I do dig it. However, one thing I have noticed and learned is that water aerobics is a lie. The stamina, strength, and flexibility that I think I have in the water is absolutely not the same as what I have on land. I realized this in the Before Times and had started to add in land aerobics to my workout to increase all three, but especially my stamina. Of course, once all the stay at home orders came down, that went out the window. I mean, I did walk, and I picked up tap again after some experiences playing DDR, but it wasn’t quite the same as a gym workout.

Fast forward to now, and I found myself in the same predicament. It was time to add some land aerobics back into my workout, especially as I am arming myself against diabetes, which keeps knocking at my door. The gym I belonged to before moving west had an aerobics class with a free weights component, so I was looking for something similar when I started eyeballing the classes at the Y. And what do you know? There is a class called Strength Training, and the first line of the description says, “Whether muscular strength or muscular endurance is your goal, enjoy access to a variety of tools.” The class also fit with my schedule, so I signed up to try it out.

(Side note: The hardest thing about finding time to exercise is finding classes in the gym schedule that work with my schedule. Part of this is because, as we know, things are still slowly reopening after being closed or limited for so long because of Covid. The other part is that I have to be honest with myself that there is no way I’m going to make a class that starts at 9 a.m. And then the third part is, you know, all the other things I want to do at times that overlap.)

On the day of my first class, this very nice older couple was already there setting up, so they told me what equipment I needed (step board and/or risers, light hand weights, yoga mat). They also gave me a run down on the class. “The teacher,” the gentleman said, “works us hard, but the important thing is to just keep moving. That’s all he wants us to do: keep moving even if we can’t keep up with him.” That sounded like just about every other aerobics class I’ve taken so I nodded. The gentleman then added, “He does modify, but still. Just keep moving.”

So, the class started. And this class is intense. There is trickery and deceit in the warm up because it’s all step touch and toe taps and a little bit of knee lifts–you know, your basic run of the mill stuff. But then he moves to a little step aerobics, squats, and crunches and then when that’s done, the teacher (Jose) says, “Great, now that you’re warmed up, let’s get into our workout.” EXCUSE ME? At that point, we all look at each other like, “Warm up? WARM UP? That’s what you consider a warm up?” Because you know, it has already felt like a workout.step

So yes, then he moves into the actual workout which repeats some stuff from the warm up, but then also includes some new stuff. He starts with squats and then it’s getting down and standing up from your knees, more crunches, and push up stuff. We finish that, and he goes, “Next round!” And we’re all just groaning and sweating and looking at each other like, “What is this torture?”

So then there’s more and, of course, he adds in some new stuff and makes the other stuff we were doing harder (if you liked crunches, try crunches with butterfly exercises, and don’t forget to stand up and jump before doing more crunches. Push ups were good, right? Let’s add in some mountain climbers, etc). And with each new addition, the groaning continues. The looks between those of us in the class continue. The sweating continues.

(Oh another thing he’ll do is start demonstrating an exercise, we’ll start doing it with him and then he says, “Time starts when everybody starts,” so even if you have already been in the plank, you have to hold it EVEN LONGER while Joann or whoever gets it together to join in. It only took me once class to get hip to this before just waiting to join when he gives that warning.)


Last time I went, after we had done some variation of the push up thing, the guy in front of me just collapsed on his mat in a sweaty heap. Jose made the call to stand up and do whatever was next, and the guy pushed himself up, put his head on his step bench thing, and then just collapsed again. We were starting the “cool down” (scare quotes because the pace is pretty fast for quite a bit of it), and the dude waited until we were at the slower part before joining in. Big “Randy lay there like a slug” from A Christmas Story energy is what I’m saying.

So the class wraps and then we of course check in with each other, especially the newbies. What did you think? Are you okay? Do you think you’ll come back again? And we’re all like, “That was great! I felt like I was dying the entire time, but I will for sure be back next time.” As proof, I asked the guy who collapsed into a heap what he thought, and he was like, “That was awesome.”


(I ask this as I sign up for next week’s class, of course.)

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  1. Anna

    This sounds a lot like my strength class. I, like you, when I first tried it out I had the impression that I would be lifting weights and maybe resistance bands. But it would be a slow burn style class which I’m a fan of. But no, I was sorely mistaken (and sore for three days following that class).

  2. Sonia Jaffe Robbins

    I think I might die if I took your classe. I’m over 80, so I appreciate that the exercise/dance class I take is geared to people my age. We use therabands for strength, but I need to get some for myself because I can only get to the class twice a week. Do you have music in your class? That can sometimes give you a hint of how strenuous it will be.


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