Progress 2022: Keeping in shape with swimming | News

ASHLAND A group of 10 women line-danced to upbeat music in the swimming pool as part of the Ashland Area YMCA’s Aqua Dance and Tone class.

Frances Shumate, of Ashland, has been coming to the class for years.

“I am 78 years old,” Shumate said. “I do this to stay younger. It makes me feel healthier. It makes me sore, my hips sore, but that’s all right.”

A few minutes after the Aqua Ladies finished their class with a cha-cha to Kool & the Gang’s 1980 hit “Celebration,” Dan Hartwig jumped in for some lap swimming in the 25-yard pool. He freestyles for at least a quarter-mile every day — part of his rehab regimen after an accident last October on the Cumberland River near Burkesville snapped his left femur in two places.

“I slipped on algae at a boat ramp, and in doing so my leg hit the ramp pretty hard, but my torso went over the side of the ramp,” said Hartwig, 67, of Ironton. “Swimming, the weightlessness of being in the water, (it) can let you do a good amount of exercise without a lot of pain. And that is so important.

“To get back to where I am now, I don’t think I could’ve done it without swimming.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity.

“Just two-and-a-half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling or running, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses,” the CDC said. “This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease.”

Hollie Hall, a lifeguard at the Y, said lap swimming and aqua exercise are popular.

“Water is 800 times more resistant than the air,” Hall said. “Lap swimming is big here.”

You don’t have to preach to Nancy Haney about the benefits of water workouts. She teaches aqua aerobics three days a week. She didn’t know water-based exercise was so challenging.

“But I know I can do things in the water that I can’t do on land because of my knees and my age and whatever,” Haney said. “It’s really kind of toned me up. A lot of elderly come in for arthritis pain. 

“We’ve had patients who are doing rehab from surgeries and they find that the water is really easier on your joints.”

Haney’s classes include water dancing, resistance exercises with light buoyant weights and noodles, and stretching against a wall. Hall said there are also prizes for people who swim 25, 75 and 100 miles.

“Some have been coming 10, 15 years,” Haney said. “You keep up with whatever pace you know you can do.”

The Y offers other aquatics classes and swimming lessons. Chadwick Spence, the Y’s aquatics director, said there are more people in their 40s learning to swim for the first time than he expected.

“Of course, they’re nervous and scared,” Spence said. “But once they get comfortable in the water, their skill level takes off.”

You could also say the classes benefit your social life. Haney said the group has a monthly lunch.

“We keep up with everybody and we know where everybody is,” Shumate said, “and if they don’t show up, we know where they are.”

Hartwig said his doctors are pleased with his progress, for which he credits swimming.

“Everything is looking up,” he said. “They tell me I will be able to do things I did, it just may not be to the degree (I did). They told me I’ll be able to get into the kayak again. They told me I’d be able to walk a mile to two miles again.”

original article can be found here

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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