More than fit­ness

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Par­tic­i­pants in an aquat­ics class in Stawell are en­joy­ing the so­cial out­let it pro­vides as much as the phys­i­cal ben­e­fits.

Dadswells Bridge res­i­dent Joan Van Diesen has been in­volved in run­ning an ‘aquat­ics for older adults’ pro­gram for 31 years and has no plans to give it up.

“For the first few years I was a helper be­cause some­one else was lead­ing the class,” she said.

“Even­tu­ally I took over the Thurs­day ses­sions and now I’m also lead­ing Tues­day ses­sions.”

Mrs Van Diesen said the classes ran from 10am to 11am at Stawell Leisure Com­plex and in­volved gen­tle aqua aer­o­bic ex­er­cises in the pool.

“We do a lot of ba­sic ex­er­cises from the Arthri­tis Foun­da­tion as well as a lot of tai chi,” she said.

When asked what she liked most about teach­ing the classes, Mrs Van Diesen replied, ‘the lot’.

“I get plea­sure from see­ing peo­ple en­joy them­selves,” she said.

“I also like be­ing able to help peo­ple get fit. I had a per­son who was very crip­pled when they started com­ing in and they have come such a long way. It is very re­ward­ing.”

Long-time par­tic­i­pant Dorothy Wil­liams said aquat­ics mem­bers met for cof­fee fol­low­ing the Thurs­day classes.

“For us it’s a great morn­ing out,” she said. “We’re in the pool by 10, out by 11 and then all show­ered and ready for cof­fee and cake by 11.30. It’s a great op­por­tu­nity to share sto­ries and tips. We talk about gar­den­ing and our grand­chil­dren and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.”

Mrs Van Diesen said the so­cial as­pect was im­por­tant.

“I’ve had peo­ple new to Stawell who didn’t know any­one come along and have a great time, be­cause it’s given them an op­por­tu­nity to meet peo­ple,” she said.

“One of the ladies has been com­ing for more than 20 years and we also have a cou­ple of men who are reg­u­lars in the group. They don’t mind be­ing sur­rounded by a whole bunch of women.”

Mrs Van Diesen said her aquat­ics mem­bers en­joyed a Christ­mas party last week and would par­tic­i­pate in their fi­nal class for the year to­mor­row.

Par­tic­i­pants will en­joy a two-week break be­fore classes re­sume on Jan­uary 9.

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