Swimming in Circles around Their Peers—and Having Fun


CSM Senior Aquatic Wellness Classes Offered at Leonardtown Campus Pool

            On land, Marian Proctor of Mechanicsville keeps a cane at hand. In the water, she is free to walk, high-step and kick-up her heels unencumbered.

            “In the pool, I don’t feel any pain,” Proctor said.

            A student in the College of Southern Maryland’s Senior Aquatic Wellness class that meets at the Leonardtown Campus Wellness and Aquatics Center, Proctor and her classmates are learning the benefits of water exercise through group instruction and in-the-pool workouts. “Clients who are unable to exercise on land, are unburdened and can exercise more comfortably in the pool,” said CSM Aquatics Instructor Gwyn Hein, who has been a certified water aerobics instructor for 17 years. Exercising as a class creates a sense of community and provides external motivation for students who may not have the discipline to work-out on their own, Hein said. She uses the Harvard Wellness Newsletter to spark in-class discussion on arthritis, diabetes, cardiac and respiratory issues, and provides in-pool examples for those conditions.

            At 78, Proctor has back pain and an arthritic knee that is a candidate for knee replacement surgery. “I declined to have the surgery because of my age,” she said.  Exercise is difficult, she added, but necessary to maintain a good quality of life. “After my first class, I walked out feeling so much better,” said Proctor. “This is the only exercise I get, so I try not to miss it.”

            Senior aquatic wellness classes are underway and continue through Aug. 18. The classes are for senior adults and those who are medically referred. In addition to teaching overall fitness and health, the class teaches the positive impact of exercise in the water on arthritis and cardiovascular function. The class consists of lecture and discussion, and guided aquatic exercise. Classes meet Tuesdays 8:45-10 a.m. or 1-2:15 p.m., or Thursdays 8:45-10 a.m. or 1-2:15 p.m. Tuition and fees are $120. The $75 tuition is waived for students age 60 years and older.

            Proctor signed up for Tuesday mornings at the beginning of the session and recently added a Thursday morning class. “At $45 a class, it’s a bargain,” she said.

            For information or to register, visit www.csmd.edu/OnlineServices/coned/registration.html, or contact Alex Smith, 240-725-5499, extension 5576, or asmith1@csmd.edu.