W is for Water Aerobics #PandemicAlphabet

August 24, 2020

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Y closed, which was pretty bad, obviously, since as mentioned in previous entries, I was going to the gym 3-4 times per week for water aerobics and/or yoga and/or step aerobics (which I had recently decided to get back into because I figured I needed to do some actual exercise on land since gravity doesn’t care if you spend all of your time in the water when it’s time to reckon with moving your body on land). So, yes, I had a pretty good routine going, and I was bummed about the closing, but I decided to make the most of it and do the deal and start walking. And walking was (is!) great, really, but, you know, not the same as getting in the pool or even doing some more aerobic land exercises.

power walking

The thing is I’m pretty terrible at personal accountability when it comes to exercise on my own. The lack of structure means I can do it whenever I want, but whenever I want turns into the next day and then the next day and then the next day. I get bored easily when I work out by myself because every exercise feels like it takes a long time, so even though I intend to do an hour, I wind up just doing twenty minutes…if that. Also, the furniture is in the way and sometimes my XBox doesn’t load and on and on it goes.

I do well at classes at the gym, however. Mostly because I’m good at showing up for things, so knowing I have to get to a certain place by a certain time to do a class works well for me. I am also very into groups (classic extrovert here) so being around people and observing them and picking up on their energy helps a lot. Plus, I’m there for an hour so I do the hour even if I’m modifying or marching in place.

So, walking was fine for a while, but it is lonely and boring. I did call people to talk on the phone during my walks, which worked for a while but then I got sick of hearing other people’s voices in my head all the time and needed some silence for my walk.

And then, more importantly, it started to get hot. It started to get hot, and I wasn’t willing to get up early enough to beat the heat. It started to get hot, and by the time it cooled down in the evenings, I was doing evening things so would forget that I needed to go for a walk until right before bed. It got hot, and I thought, “BOY, I SURE DO WISH I COULD GET IN THE POOL.”

Fun fact: the pool in my complex was closed.

Even funner fact: I have lived here for three years and never gotten into the pool once.

BUT SO WHAT? I wanted to get in the pool now and realized how valuable it is but it was NOT OPEN. AT ALL.

Listen, I was grateful for the fact that the state and the owners of the complex wanted to keep us all safe. But also the pool was right there not being used and all I wanted was to get in it.

The good news is the pool reopened. The better news is the pool reopened with restrictions so that residents have to sign up for a specific time to use it and there’s a limit on how many people can be in the pool at one time.

So yay for all of that, but what was I going to do with all that pool and no water aerobics class and no instructor? I mean, your girl does not know how to swim laps, for one. And see above re: getting bored alone.

What I needed was a routine and some way to know when my workout started and ended that didn’t depend on me watching time. I also needed equipment, so I ordered some water weights and an aqua belt.

And this is where both blogging and all those water aerobics classes I took before came into play–especially the one with Jen. See, Jen did one important thing in both the classes I took with her: a routine. Every class was basically the exact same. And especially the Tuesday night class which was a routine WITH MUSIC. (She could use music only on Tuesday night because in the mornings, two classes were going on simultaneously.) She had told me before that one of the reasons she loved using music was that she didn’t have to remember what she was doing or count.

So before I got in the pool, I tried to cobble together a routine, and it was pretty easy because I basically just followed this post where I had written out the basics of her routine and the songs she used. I created a playlist with songs I already owned (though I did spring for “Cupid Shuffle”) and tried to remember just exactly what it was we did in the pool every week. It was not easy, but I came up with a skeleton list and then just tried to do stuff related to the skeleton during each song. The amazing thing is that the more I exercise, the more I remember but also sometimes I forget what I do from day to day but I just keep going during the entire song and BOOM one hour down. And I’m back in the pool 3-4 times a week.

Here are my exercises with the songs listed. I tried to be thematic whenever possible (just like Jen!), but sometimes I just had to go with pace.

  • Warm-up/walking – “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West
  • Squats, skateboard, rocking horse – “Poison” by BBD
  • Cupid Shuffle – “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupidpool
  • Swim in place – “Just Fine” by Mary J. Bligepool
  • Bicycle around the pool – “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele (I thought this song choice was particularly inspired)
  • Scissors – “Super Freak” by Rick James
  • Swim the length of the pool – “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj
  • Crunches – “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette
  • Suntan Superman – “Superwoman” by Alicia Keys
  • Bunny hop (basically squats jumping up and down on the noodle–that’s just what I call them because of Jen’s previous song choice) — “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera
  • Jumping jacks – “Lose My Breath” by Destiny’s Child
  • Leg work with noodle – “Yeah!” by Usher
  • Leg work without noodles also some hip stuff, I guess — “Toxic” by Britney Spears (okay, I put this song on the playlist and completely forgot and haven’t take it off, so it operates as a catch-all for exercises I think I want to do but have forgotten to do)
  • Weights – “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake
  • More weights! – “I Would Die 4 U”  by Prince
  • Cool down – “On & On” by Erykah Badu

water aerobics

I look nothing like this while doing water aerobics (source

A couple of things I noticed by doing this:

  1. I didn’t remember until after I got in the pool that “Can’t Touch This” samples “Super Freak” so I should have put that for the lap swims, but see above re: Toxic and how I have just left things as is. 
  2. “I Would Die 4 U” is apparently about Jesus??? I was a kid when the song came out so I never paid much attention to the lyrics.
  3. I 100% could not remember any of the stuff we did in the classes I took without music until I actually started exercising in the pool. And sometimes my friend Nicky would remind me.
  4. According to my Fitbit, I burn more calories while walking than I do with water aerobics. I don’t think this is accurate, but whatever.
  5. A routine is good, but when it’s your only routine, it’s boring. So since the algorithm at Amazon thinks it knows me, it recommended a couple of water aerobics books to me, so I did what any self-respecting person who wants to vary her routine but can’t remember or doesn’t know every single possible exercise would do and put them on hold at the library. So hopefully by this time next week, I’ll have at least one other routine drawn up, so I can have some variety.
  6. My exorbitant rent does not pay for a heated pool. I’m going to have to buy a wetsuit when it gets cold again. After talking to some people, apparently just a jacket will be enough.
  7. OMG, so I totally used to judge the one water aerobics instructor that I find kind of irritating because she used a clipboard with the exercises on them because, hello, why didn’t she know them by heart? And then I had to use a clipboard the first few times I did my workout so I could remember just what I was supposed to be doing at any given turn.
  8. The next place I move has to–HAS TO–have a pool. It’s non-negotiable at this point.
  9. My tan is ridiculous. 

Those pictures were taken over a week ago. I’m darker now. So there’s also that.

THE POINT IS I am so, so happy the pool is back. I am so, so happy I have some semblance of a routine. Water aerobics, for the win.

pandemic alphabet

Just as a reminder that unlike with the A to Z Challenge, these pandemic alphabetposts are posted in random order as things come to me.

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  1. krs9d

    This is a genius plan, Akilah. I didn’t even think about water aerobics in our pool. Our pool set up is very similar to yours, even with the times that we can be there or check out a spot there. Also, our pool is not heated except for by the sun and usually it’s too shady. Didn’t even think about investing in a suit. I haven’t been able to really walk in this heat, though I did last night for about 45 minutes and need something else for some cardio – our place isn’t big enough for me to really have an exercise cardio dance routine or anything like that, though I can stretch, do weight etc…okay, thanks for the pool inspiration. Going to attempt adding it into my routine this week. (I do like to swim, but our pool isn’t big enough for laps.)

    • Akilah

      Oh, yay! Yeah, the pool is great. I’ve even considered doing some water walking on days I’m not wanting to do a full workout but still want/need to walk. I haven’t done it yet, but the idea is there.

  2. Katy K.

    I’m so glad you’re finding a way to do exercise you like! I have been feeling so lucky that I’ve always preferred walking and exercising at home, so I’ve been able to just keep on doing my normal stuff. (But also, I live in Michigan, so it just doesn’t get as hot.)

    • Akilah

      Yes, but what will happen when it gets Michigan cold???

      • Katy K.

        Most of the winter, wool and down and boots made for walking are enough. If it’s especially cold, windy, or icy, I put on music and break out the hula hoop my love made for me.

        • Akilah

          Wow, you really are prepared. Meanwhile I’m over here trying to decide if i’m going to be able to bear getting in the water once the air temperature drops below 75.

          • Katy K.

            You can do it! As the Norwegians say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Though of course they don’t get tornadoes or hurricanes, so we have to take that into account.

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