Water Fitness Classes Lead To Growing Friend Group

What started as a class or two in the Aquatic Center at the Y has become a welcoming group of friends who challenge each other and have fun together. The group of around ten members attend “Making Waves” with Paula Auten, “Water in Motion” with Julie Hale, and “Cardio Splash” with Donna Hoffa. The group is always open to new members.

Some of the group’s members, in addition to the instructors, are Mary, Donna, Kathy, Jane, Kim, Beth, Heather, Stephanie, Lynn, Jessica, Julie, Jake, and Michelle. When they don’t have instructors on Saturday mornings, they still meet at the pool around 9 am to work out in the water.

“I look forward to getting a workout in and being able to socialize with a great group of people,” shared Lynn Thomas. “These classes are the high point of my day and week.”

Mary Masters is the unofficial “ringleader” of the group. She started a message group where she shares funny events and animal photos in addition to updates about group outings. In May of 2022, she started “McLunches” for the group, inviting class members to join her at McDonald’s for Happy Meals which provided a portion-controlled treat with the option of apples instead of fries.

“We all like to laugh and cut up during class. Laughter and exercise help reduce stress in our lives,” Mary noted. “It makes us look forward to being there, rather than dreading working out.”

In addition to the friendship benefit, Mary has lost 150 pounds since starting her membership at the Y nine years ago. “I feel much better,” she said.

Instructor Paula Auten loves being one of the instructors for the group. She looks forward to the group’s good workouts and conversations.

“It keeps you motivated to keep moving in a structured class,” she explained. “Especially in water, you can make it your own—move as easy or as hard as you want to meet your goals.”

The group often shares weight loss tips, healthy recipes, and achievements. They pride themselves on being friendly and positive, checking in with one another if someone is missing for a while.

“I think the biggest thing that makes this group work is there is no judging and just a genuine love and concern for each other,” Lynn added.

Donna Campbell is retired and enjoys the common meeting place to develop her body and spirit. In addition to the workouts, she even went to her first play in years.

“Last year two of the ladies from the water aerobics classes and Jake were in a play at the New Castle-Henry County Public Library. Several of us got tickets and sat together,” she described. “It broadened my horizon on what I might like to do now that I am retired.”

Donna has this advice for someone who is thinking about joining the Y for fitness and connection:
“Come. No exercise routine is too hard because every exercise can be modified to your own personal level of fitness and ability.
“Come, because we laugh as we do our exercises.
“Come, just be happy with us.
“Come, you will meet and make new friends and maybe even you will go to see your first play in twenty years.”

To find a group exercise class that works with your schedule and fitness level, visit henrycountyymca.org/group-exercise.