Just as the saddle hunters are King of the show ring - the folk that brave the Aquaintense class in the Jellie Park recreation centre must be the Queens of the pool complex at 6am on a Monday morning.
Even if you are there doing laps or minding your own business, you would have to be stone deaf to miss the 60's music blaring through the speaker system filling the whole space with those old catchy favourites. I expect if you werent a morning person it would be bloody annoying, but for the baby boomers it is the perfect start to a monday.
A dozen bathing beautys were in the pool this morning , when Nikki the instructor arrived to take the class after getting her beats sorted. She is no spring chicken, fit as a trout and I swear she must be on some sort of speed. Her muscles are hard and rippling as she demonstrates the workout from poolside we are to mimmick in the pool. She never stoped for 50 minutes ,and what I thought was going to be a walk in the park was anything but.
Man it was exhausting, running, kicking , twisiting and jumping while waving your arms in the air is quite intense if it goes on for that long, and about half way through the session my training partner Ange and I looked at each other wincing, thinking maybe that horrid pump class a fortnight ago wasnt so bad.
Six weeks have past since that first rude awakening to the Aqua class and I am pleased to say I am now hooked. So hooked that I am going to the pool four times a week now and on the days that Nikki isnt there shouting from the sideline, my cohort and I are twisting up a storm in the slow lane at the pool. We can now crab down the wall poolside without falling off bending those knees and working those joints and do a number of things that I know I couldnt do if I wasnt surrounded by thousands of litres of chlorine. Floaties and pool noodles have become tools of our trade as we use the versatile accessories to vary our exercise routines inbetween the pool sprints, the star jumps and the sparing bouts we engage in.
On the days when we run the class, we do so much more than just splash about though. We solve the problems of the world, get rid of any negative crap that might have been eating away at us overnight and laugh lots. We laugh at the elderly man on his zimmer frame who has the gall to tell Ange to get doing something when she is furiously concentrating on clapping underwater and staying up right, the elderly Asian couple who spend the whole hour walking around the outside of the pool in their costumes never to enter the pool before slipping into the spa at 7am, and the couple of beauty queens that slip into the pool wearing their Mariliyn Munro lipstick, pearls and fancy shower caps.
The treat at the end of those early morning workouts for me has to be the sauna or steam room that I indugle in for a few minutes before rushing home to the coffee pot. Ange has fallen in love with the spa - so much so that the woman I had to drag kicking and screaming weeks ago now beats me there every morning . Never having been a morning chick, she marvels at how chirpy everyone is at 6am and how much better she feels about coping with the day after leaping out of bed so early.
The benefits to us have been so good, both physically and mentally. I think my balance has improved and my joints are not so stiff. After getting stranded like a beached whale in the steam room after lying down to enjoy it in week one, I can now semi gracefully rise without fear of calling for assistance!
Its such fun and long may it last I am thinking. I, like so many have fits and starts of being disciplined about sticking to a regular exercise regime . Supporting each other along the way has been good for us both but the biggest buzz for me has been watching my mate who resented anything that remotely resembled exercise and who refused to go anywhere near a swimsuit, turn from a doubting thomas some weeks back to the women who keeps me honest and inspires me to keep turning up most mornings.
We say to each other on the slow days during the dog paddle "even if we arent doing much, we must be doing something?", but the truth is that leaving the scratcher to do something at Jellie Park in the morning is doing so much more, for both of us.