A new splash on fitness

Who says swimming is a summer thing? Instead of running off that turkey this holiday season, why not have some fun and swim off the sweet potatoes and sugar cookies? With the new McKendree MetroRecPlex in O’Fallon, swimming is a year-round option for people who want to stay fit and either need to find an option that has less impact on their joints and muscles or simply want to switch things up from their regular workout. Aquafit is just one of the many choices that the Plex offers to help you beat the winter blues and get a jump start on those extra hibernation hunger cravings that sneak up throughout the winter.

Christy Belsom, Aquafit instructor at the MetroRecPlex is no stranger to understanding how difficult it is to start a health and fitness journey, not to mention stay on the path in order to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle that promotes overall wellness.

“My fitness journey started in my early twenties and it saved my life. I battled anorexia and got down to about 79 pounds when I was in my twenties and a friend who was very concerned gave me my very first fitness magazine. I realized that in order for me to be healthy and look healthy, I had to actually eat meals and work out. That’s when it all started for me.”

Aquafit is high intensity circuit training with low impact. This is especially beneficial for people who have injuries and are post-rehab and in recovery. In the Aquafit class, participants will use weights and also do a lot of cardio, but the exercises have less impact on the joints because of the buoyancy of the water. Working out in water allows the joints and muscles to obtain equal resistance through a person’s full range of motion, allowing maximum strength and conditioning with the minimum amount of stress on the body.

This type of aquatic circuit training is also an awesome option for athletes. Training in the water has been proven to help improve athletic performance, especially for high-impact activities and sports like long and short-distance running, dance, basketball and soccer, just to name a few. The water allows each person to burn calories while strengthening the muscles, all the while improving cardiovascular health and protecting those precious joints that so often are the first to face injury, especially amongst long-time athletes.

Each Aquafit class is fifty minutes long and always starts with a warm up that is followed by the actual class, full of options for each person and desired level of intensity. After the warm up, the circuit training consists of giant sets of three exercises back to back to back, followed by a small break, and then the same. It’s easy for beginners to catch on quickly and allows opportunity for those who are at more of an expert level to find ways to challenge themselves differently than they would outside of the water. If you are considering trying the Aquafit class or any other fitness option at the McKendree MetroRecPlex (there are A LOT of options), Christy has a great piece of advice for you.
“I’ve always had the motto that a body in motion stays in motion.”

Members at the MetroRecPlex have full access to the entire facility, including the swimming pool, and Aquafit classes are currently offered on Monday and Friday at 9am and Monday and Wednesday at 7pm. In addition, there are nutritional guidance options as well as one on one personal training opportunities. Whether you are a water baby at heart or just want a different way to manage your health one bite of pumpkin pie at a time, Aquafit is definitely something that is worth trying!