May 15, 2017
I am not one to exercise. I am more the type of person to never change the channel on the TV because I would have to get up to get the remote. Running, jumping, lifting, swimming, or any exercise for that matter makes me roll my eyes and grunt in frustration. I really hate physically moving my body in an effort to be in better shape; it’s really that bad.
However, somehow I got myself hyped up to go on an athletic adventure in the pool: Aqua Zumba. It sounds so weird and out-there, but at least it was a more interesting exercise choice than going on a boring run around the neighborhood. So, on Thursday night at the Columbia Gym, my journalism buddies and I entered the humid pool area to bask in the glory of Aqua Zumba.
I knew just about everyone who was working at the Columbia Gym, so it was quite the awkward experience to arrive in a one-piece bathsuit and hop in the pool, which does not have the best reputation around Columbia. When clock struck 6:30, a group of women entered the pool and music began to blast. My two journalism comrades and I looked at each other, stripped off our coverups, and rushed into the pool—no running of course! There was no formal introduction to the class, only the pumping beat of Happy by Pharrell and the instructor, named Kim, beginning to dance and yell at everyone to “Keep your knees up!”
We got into the deep end and quickly caught up with everyone else in the class. Our heads bobbed up and down, water splashing everywhere, and the sounds of struggling echoed from our lips—especially since all three of us are less than five and half feet tall. The music was energetic and Kim the instructor radiated high-energy and enthusiasm (Though, as time passed and I got tired, I began to resent the fact that Kim was not in the water since all the moves seemed much easier on land).
Honestly, Aqua Zumba is so much harder than it appears and, according to Kim, it burns a minimum of 400 to 500 calories per session simply due to water resistance. The good thing about Aqua Zumba, though, is that no one can see what you’re doing underwater. But, everything is moving at such a fast pace that, at points, I could not keep up!
As I looked around the pool while crunching up my legs and whirling around my arms in time of the music, I noticed that the three of us were probably the youngest people in attendance. I would say a good 15 to 20 years separated us journalists and the next youngest Aqua Zumba-er. However, this did not detract from the overall experience; Kim seemed to be pleased with us trying our best even though we looked as if we were drowning. In fact, she came up and talked to us after the class, telling us that she’s been a Zumba teacher for 20-some-odd years and that she loves the program.
“Dancing is great for the brain…it’s one of the most important things you can do as you age,” Zumba Instructor Kim said. “There’s an 87 year old lady who comes to my morning class, and she does jump tucks with the rest of them; she’s so cute.”
Aqua Zumba at first seemed so silly, and, upon reflection, it still seems so dumb. However, I got out of that pool refreshingly exhausted, ready to resume my daily routine of falling onto my couch and taking a nap, but now with a little weight off my shoulders.