Aqua Aerobics Provide High Results for Low Impact

Aging doesn't have to take such a hard toll on the body, especially when there's a variety of low-impact exercises and classes available to local seniors.

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This 82-year-old grandmother may knit and bake cookies—but she also does yoga. Jacqueline Lassen attends a weekly class at Wayne Presbyterian Church, plus aerobics four times a week. Grandfathers around here are surprisingly active, too. Raymond Tobey, age 80, hikes the trail at the Willows in Radnor, pumps iron at the Wayne Senior Center and swims laps in Villanova University’s pool.

At the Main Line YMCA in Ardmore, Loretta Rambert, 75, teaches an Arthritis Foundation aquatic program. Her favorite part is the Funky Chicken. With Rambert supervising, those in the pool peck with their arms, flap their wings, then move their rear ends from side to side, repeating each movement four times. “You have to shake your butt,” Rambert says. “It’s the most fun part.”

Rambert, Lassen and Tobey are part of a growing corps of senior fitness enthusiasts. Some, like Tobey, are continuing a life-long love of exercise. Others, like Lassen and Rambert, have embraced physical activity later in life and under doctors’ orders.

“I have arthritis, and my rheumatologist suggested that water therapy would help me,” says Rambert. “I found the Main Line Y’s class. Back then, it was called ‘Hinges and Twinges,’ which is just awful. But I started coming. I did feel some improvement, so I kept at it.”

That was 29 years ago. Rambert got certified by the Arthritis Foundation to lead the class and teaches it twice a week. “Knees, hips, elbows, whatever,” she says. “The warm water helps everything—I can do exercises that I couldn’t do on land. Our bodies have more buoyancy in water. It provides natural resistance that works our muscles without straining them.”

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