Inside the Kroehler YMCA there is a pool where friends gather for a water aerobics class that has sparked friendships and a passion for exercise.
Jenna: We have a lot of fun in class, we have a group of about 20 women, they don’t all come at once, thank goodness… but there’s a lot of camaraderie and friendship and it makes exercise a lot more fun. When you have people that you know you’re going to see and catch up with, it’s a really big part of our group.
In the sub-level pool inside the Kroehler YMCA, Jenna Kraskiewicz is in charge of this water aerobics class. Attending are women of all ages looking to exercise in a low-pressure environment, physically and mentally speaking.
Jenna: Water aerobics is zero impact; you get your heart rate up and get a full range of motion without putting stress on your joints. There’s also water pressure, for people that have swelling, it redistributes that fluid in your body – you feel so much better afterwards. It was invented when people had leg injuries and couldn’t exercise. You can move in the water like you can’t move on land. And it makes you feel so good afterwards. Waters very forgiving and its also a lot cool than working on land.
Gloria Flaherty is 85 years old and loves coming to her local Y. Specifically for the water aerobics class because of what it has done for her body.
Gloria: I started in 2011 and I’m really surprised that its done a lot for me mobility and it helps your muscles be more flexible. I love the instructors, they’re very professional and they’re very caring and the staff is excellent.
Everybody’s journey here is different – Gloria found it through word of mouth and through her insurance – which supports attendance at local YMCA’s. But Jenna’s path was much different. Ultimately, what matters most is the relationships and the desire to exercise.
Jenna: I fell into this through a friend of mine; I had recently stopped working full time after having my first son. And she was a teacher here at the Y at the time. We rode horses together, that’s how we knew each other. So she is a very active person. And she started bringing me as a student but when the position became available, I became a teacher.
Gloria: I like to be around people who are trying, trying to improve some skill.
Jenna: I think an important part for me is to be social and friendly with you students. We keep track of each other when we’re not in the water. We have our own phone tree, or text tree sometimes, nowadays. I think anyone can do it who enjoys being with people and making them feel better and helping them feel better. And encouraging them is very important.
Gloria: I don’t have a family that joins me but I have conversations and I listen to their family trials and tribulations… but no, they’re very positive, the tone is very positive.
The pool is just one facet of the extraordinary building housing the Kroehler YMCA and the people in it sense it’s uniqueness.
Jenna: There is a different feeling at the YMCA, I feel like its accepting and comfortable for all abilities and ages, from the very young to the older folks that come.
Gloria: I really love it; it’s actually my second home.
Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman