The Art of Aging: Aqua Zumba

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Aqua Zumba puts a fresh twist on popular dance exercise program. (WPVI)

Has all the hot weather this summer wilted your drive to get outside and exercise?

If it has, this week's Art of Aging has a cooler option.

And it is making a "splash" with many seniors.

Zumba's Latin beat is great for raising your heart rate - and your spirits.

However, it's challenging for those with joint problems, including a lot of seniors.

Enter Aqua Zumba - which takes the dance party into the pool.

"Shake it, shake it.... shake it, shake it," says Liliya Murdock, an Aqua Zumba instructor at the Haverford Area YMCA.

Murdock, who's taught zumba on land, too, says the aquatic variety still gets the heart rate up, but with less pounding on the body.

"They still can enjoy dancing, but this way, it's for, lower impact," says Murdock.

And the water's resistance actually helps tone muscles better.

"You're constantly fighting the floating," she notes.

"Because water pushes you out, we always have to push ourselves in, to be able to stand, and that's the resistance," Murdock adds.

Joanne Gooding of Ardmore, Pa., enjoyed cycling and weight-training, till a spinal injury sent her looking for something easier on the back.

"I looked at it and said, Ooooh, I love it, but can I do all those moves?" recalls Gooding.

"Now I do it as often as I can!"

For her, Aqua Zumba is gentler, yet still a total workout.

"There's a lot of movement, and you actually move all of the muscles," Gooding observes.

And you can adjust the movements to your capabilities.

"You can move the legs gently on the bottom of the pool or you can choose to lift it, which is what I do," she says.

"This man took my class, and he said - I never thought I could sweat in the water!" Murdock recalls.

Aqua Zumba is offered at most YMCA branches in the Philadelphia area, as well as some community centers and commercial fitness clubs.

"They still want to feel young, they want to do things that, you know, everyione else can do, and the water really allows them," says Murdock.

To find a class and join the Aqua Zumba pool party, click here.
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