SUISUN CITY — Karen Savko doesn’t get in the water, but she’s a big part of aqua aerobics classes at the Kroc Center.
She’s the teacher, the coach, the cheerleader on the pool deck for the 9 a.m. classes five days a week, leading groups that vary in age by more than 70 years.
“The bottom line is it’s not just old people’s exercise,” said Savko, one of four aqua aerobics instructors at the Kroc Center. “There’s people of all ages. They range (in my classes) from teenagers to 93 years old.”
Yet for those on the mend or unable to exercise as they once did, aqua aerobics is a safe and fun way to get in a workout.
“It’s people with arthritis, people who can’t move without a walker, they soar in the water,” Savko said. “Water acts as a cushion. They walk in with canes and walkers. In the water, they don’t need any of that.”
Instead they use water weights, which vary in size depending on the resistance desired, as well as Styrofoam workout noodles and aerobic waist belts. The pool sides and lane dividers also provide support to allow participants to get in their kicks.
“You can get everything – cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility,” said Ann Pearman, a participant who’s also a former aqua aerobics instructor. “When you get out of the water you feel fabulous. There’s no aches and pains.”
The good feelings don’t end when it’s time to get out of the pool.
“They’re pretty popular classes,” said Will Giugni, Kroc Center aquatics director. “You might get some new friendships out of it as well.”
“One of the benefits is the camaraderie people build with one another,” she said. “They’re happy, they have relationships like no other. They get together after for lunch and coffee. It’s not just an exercise program, it’s friendships. They build friendships.”
There are hour-long aqua aerobics classes available to fit nearly any schedule. They start with 6 a.m. sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The most frequent are at 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday, with classes also at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
According to Giugni, the water temperature for the main pool used is 80 degrees, a pleasant thought when it’s near freezing outside. Class sizes vary from about a dozen participants to slightly more than 30.
“People don’t drop off because of the weather,” Savko said. “It’s all-year-round exercise. . . . It’s good therapy. It’s good for the soul whenever you exercise. I’ve been doing this 17 years and I love it.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.