New at The Hill: Aqua Cycling
When Exercise Is a Splash
As the vision of having an outdoor pool at The Hill at Whitemarsh started to become a reality, Andrew Seibert, Community Wellness Manager for The Hill, joined the rest of the management team for planning meetings.
“We wanted ideas that were a little out of the box, and I came across aqua cycling bikes in my research,” says Andrew. “We all knew the residents would love it.”
All of the residents who have taken the aqua cycling classes so far have, in fact, loved it. Stef Levin, a resident of The Hill and self-professed fitness fan, was anxious to try the new class when The Hill first made the announcement.
“One of the highlights of my time here at The Hill has been the fitness studio and the amount of activities they offer,” says Stef. “I’ve taken full advantage of all the classes—I’ll try it all! When they brought in spin cycling for the new pool, I was anxious to try it. And now I really love it.”
Ann Morse, who moved to The Hill from Hudson Valley, New York, this past year, was also drawn to the class out of curiosity.
“I knew what spinning was, but thought that was really for people in their 20s and 30s who are strapped onto a bike in a loud room filled with dance music,” laughs Ann. “But the aqua bike classes are so much fun. It’s especially great for people who might have arthritis, because the water makes everything easier on the joints.”
Both Ann and Stef note that at first, many residents feared that the aqua cycling classes would be too hard or that they’d fall off the bike, and so they avoided trying it altogether. But since its debut this past summer, it’s proven to be a big hit with the residents, especially once they learned about what a safe and effective workout it actually is.
Weezie Johnson, who moved to The Hill in February 2020, agrees that the aqua cycling class is a great workout for everyone,
despite your body type or fitness level. “It was very easy, and is great for those with aches and pains. It’s easy on my knee, and I had no problem balancing or getting on and off the bike,” says Weezie. “It’s not very tiring the way a spin class is; you’re not pushing yourself to exhaustion. You’re having fun, socializing, and getting exercise at the same time.”
“A lot of new or innovative ideas can be slow to catch on, but once you experience it for yourself you start to see that, like all of our classes, the aqua cycling classes are modified to your comfort and ability level,” says Andrew. “Our top priority is safety, and the pool provides the perfect environment for experimentation.”
“It’s not dangerous at all. You’re in water up to your waist, so there’s no question of balance,” says Ann. “If you do fall, you would simply slide into the water. It’s easy to mount and dismount. And it really is so much fun!”
“One of the highlights of my time here at The Hill has been the fitness studio and the amount of activities they offer. I’ve taken full advantage of all the classes—I’ll try it all! When they brought in spin cycling for the new pool, I was anxious to try it. And now I really love it.” – Stef Levin
Andrew explains that when most people think about spin classes, they think about more traditional spin classes at home or in the studio; however those classes are much harder than aqua cycling. Classic spin bikes allow you to add resistance in order to increase the level of difficulty of your workout. In the water, however, the added resistance isn’t necessary; the water itself acts as a means of resistance, and residents can pedal as quickly or slowly as they see fit in order to keep the wheels turning.
“It’s really quite manageable,” Stef says. “You can go at your own pace. The water adds resistance, so it’s as little effort or as strenuous as you make it. I always feel great when I’m finished.”
With three fitness specialists qualified to teach classes during the week, the classes never feel boring or redundant.
“There’s something inherently fun in trying new things or learning through experience,” Andrew says. “The worst that can happen is that you spend 30 minutes doing something you end up not liking, but that’s still a great way to fail. Besides, I’m so confident that everyone will love it, that no one is bound to see it as a failure at all.”
“Everyone should try it!” exclaims Ann. “Like anything new, it can be intimidating at first, but it’s so worth it.”