The pool area becomes filled with upbeat music, instructions and chatter of women. Waves move about the pool as the women enter it and follow the instructions of the hydrofit program instructor, moving freely in the water and using foam noodles, water resistance weights, and floating belts if desired.
Participants all have their own reasons for showing up to this exercise session. Maureen Burke attends hydrofit classes at least four days a week and has been coming to Castleton to get her work out for about 18 years.
“I come for my sanity. It is a good stress reliever and you make a lot of friends,” said Burke while walking down the stairs and into the pool.
While waiting for the workout to begin, the women were talking about what to do for the birthday of fellow participant, Nancy Merkel.
“A lot of us come for the camaraderie. We did not even know each other before we came here,” said Merkel.
Merkel recommends the program to everyone. She said they welcome people of all shapes, sizes and ages. This type of exercise is good for anybody who has any problems with pain because there is no impact, explained Laurie Knauer, instructor of the Tuesday night hydrofit sessions.
Participant Bonnie Bean has fibromyalgia, which causes pain in the body tissue. Exercise is important and the pool is the only kind she can do. It helps her relax, she said.
“When I don’t come, I don’t feel good,” said Bean.
Some participants, like Audry Hathaway, have even been advised to come by their doctor, in her case to ease the pain of arthritis.
But the program isn’t just for older women, it’s great for injured athletes as well explained Knauer.
“You can make your work out as hard as you want it. In the water there is seven times greater resistance than when you work out in the air, but you do not feel the soreness like when working with weights,” Knauer said.
There are at least two classes a day Monday through Friday and the women who already attend are welcoming and say they love when students partake.