More than fitness
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.