By Rebekah K. Bohannon Beeler
Every Friday at 8:45 a.m., Michelle Vaughn will be instructing an Aqua Stretch class. This hour long class is a non-aerobic, water exercise class which teaches low impact, slow stretching techniques using body weight and water for resistance for elongating and mobilizing the muscles.
Vaughn, who moved here from Illinois four months ago, taught an arthritis swim class and how to move in the water so that the muscles are not sore and stiff. She has been accredited as an instructor by the Arthritis Association of Illinois.
The class mainly consists of shallow water and wall exercises, and for stronger swimmers, some deep water exercises. The techniques do not raise attendees’ heart rates or exert or strain but merely coax targeted muscles into simple training for toning and alleviation from tension and arthritic pain.
“I am looking forward to having a full class from now throughout the summer. It’s a way for me to socialize because I am new here to the area and I get to meet a lot of people,” said Vaughn.
She also teaches the stretch portion of the Water Aerobics class on Mondays and Wednesdays at the indoor pool.
Aqua stretching has been used to relieve arthritis, fibromyalgia, as well as knee, back and shoulder pain and is a form of aquatic rehabilitation used widely in orthopedics, sports medicine and for qualifying post surgical cases as an effective remedy for aches and stiffness.
Because of the unique properties of water, those who participate in aquatic therapies will experience decreased joint compression forces, which reduces inflammation. They will also be less likely to suffer from the chronic pain and soreness that regular exercise can cause. The resistance the water provides is a safe way for those with balance, strength and postural deficits to increase strength, endurance, range of motion and flexibility.
“When I had my knee replaced, I committed to taking this class,” Vaughn stated, “and it helped so much I decided to teach.”
The class appeals to a wide range of ages. Vaughn has the ability to pinpoint the source of most aches and pains, and knows what stretch to use to target them.
“Freelance teaching what I know and what was good for me, how to move in the water, even for those with severe arthritis, gives everyone the ability to be active,” said Vaughn, “because if you don’t move it, you may lose it.”
For more information about the Aqua Stretching Class call the indoor pool at 788-2808.