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Facing a Fitness Fear By Diving Right Into a Water Aerobics Class

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As part of our series of Propel fitness challenges that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was up first for the challenge of conquering a fitness fear. A couple of genuine fears I have were kind of off the table because of my delicate condition. Like, this would have been the perfect opportunity to tackle a rock-climbing wall, which I’ve been putting off for years. Or to finish that half-marathon. Or to go white-water rafting. But just like I had to pass on attempting to climb the rope at Jenn’s gym when I was visiting her last month, I figured I should keep my feet on the ground and do something a little less vertically ambitious for my fitness fear. And a little easier on the wee babe and myself.


So I did something else I’ve been putting off for ages. And you might laugh at me calling it a “fitness fear,” but what other reason would I put off doing something I’ve wanted to do for years other than the fact that I’m afraid to try something new or get out of my comfort zone? So, yes, taking a water aerobics class TOTALLY counts as tackling a fitness fear.

I’ve always loved the water. I grew up swimming and splashing and playing Free Willy (the whale movie, srsly) in the pool. I even managed to conquer my fear of the diving board flip last summer — albeit quite painfully and bruise-fully. But I’ve never taken a water class, which I’ve wanted to do since 2009 when the gym I went to had a heated rooftop pool. So yeah, I’ve been putting it off long enough and it was time to rip off the clothes, put on a swimsuit so I was decent, and dive right in! (Or maybe waddle right in.)

So I showed up for my water aerobics class a little early and ended up chatting with one of the regulars. She assured me I’d love it. I put my Propel water (love the grape flavor!) next to the pool’s edge so that I’d have easy access for sipping; I’ve always felt that you can never tell when you’re getting dehydrated and sweaty in the water because, well, you’re in the water. The instructor showed up with her sound system, and we were ready to go. She demonstrated all of the moves from the pool deck, which was actually nice because I think it would be harder to see what she was doing had she been in the pool (even if that’s typically where she instructs). We started off alternating walking and running laps back and forth until we were sufficiently warmed up. Then the next hour flew by with exercises with water weights, sideways “sprints” back and forth, high knees, tuck jumps and walking laps — forwards and backwards in both directions.

It wasn’t the most challenging workout I’ve ever done, but it was a great low-impact routine that I will definitely do again. I was actually quite surprised at how much skill it took to do some of the moves. I hadn’t accounted for fighting the current — when 15 people are doing laps and you reverse direction, you’re working against some waves for sure. Even balancing and doing leg work was tougher than I’d thought it would be because the shifting water makes you work your balance even more.

The ladies in the class were great. They loved having a newbie there, and I was actually delighted at the tips they shared with me. A few of the moves really did take some technique that I was unfamiliar with, so it was great when they spoke up to help me out. For instance, gaining momentum to hop backwards in the water was helped a lot by moving your weights through the water in a very specific way. When I climbed out, I definitely felt that familiar whole-body fatigue one feels after a good frolic in the pool.

So, obviously, after taking the class, I realized that yes, it was silly that I’d been putting it off for so long when it’s such a great workout and really a lot of fun. It wasn’t scary at all, and the people — admittedly a bit of an older crowd — were so great, as was the instructor who kept giving me lots of great pregnancy modifications (tuck jumps with wide knees, yay!). Now I pretty much want to tackle all of the fears on my list because I know they’re never as scary as you make them out to be in your head.

Except for alligator wrestling. Which may totally be scary in real life.

Now tell us: What fitness fear do you want to tackle? Tell us below or on the Twitter using #PropelFit! —Erin

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