Burpees. Push ups. Leg lifts. In many ways, this early morning group fitness class was like any other.
Except for the fact the five class members were completing their exercises on a board — in the middle of the swimming pool.
HaysMed’s Center for Health Improvement this month launched a new Aquafloat workout class. Floating on water to complete the workout gives it an extra level of difficulty, said JoDee Altman, group fitness and aquatics manager.
“They definitely make everything you do more challenging, because your balance is challenged in a lot of ways,” she said. “Prepare to be wet when you get on a board, because you most likely will fall off.”
Any workout regimen that is done on land can be completed afloat. Classes include yoga, Pilates, balance work and high-intensity cardio. The boards are designed for extra support.
The class is offered twice a week, with two early morning sessions. The class is limited to five participants and is booked through July.
Aquafloat classes will be a regular fixture in the CHI group class schedule and might be offered more frequently in the future. Enrollment information can be found at haysmed.com/the-center.
The class format is becoming more popular across the nation, but Altman said she is not aware of other regional facilities offering the course, which is inspired by the coastal trend of stand-up paddle boarding.
“I don’t know of anybody else in the Midwest that’s doing it,” she said. “I’ve heard of people on the East Coast. I’ve seen some other places slowly taking hold, but not a lot of places have it. Not a lot of places are lucky enough to have a pool to have it.”
The boards are attached on the front and back to lines anchored in the pool. That keeps the participants from floating all around the pool during the class.
So far, the class has been a hit with those who have tried it, Altman said.
“They love it,” she said. “Everybody I’ve talked to has said it’s harder than it looks, but they love it.”
The classes last for nearly an hour and can be difficult at first until participants get used to keeping their balance on the water, said Samantha Horacek, who teaches a high-intensity workout class on the boards.
“It makes it harder because you have to stabilize and balance the whole entire time,” she said. “Once you get used to the board and how it moves in the water, you can figure out how to stabilize.”