In the Ai Chi warm water exercise class that Barbara Blank teaches, she emphasizes the deep breathing and unhurried motions that is characteristic of this Japanese-inspired form of movement. Relaxed in the water, Blank and her students move like graceful swans to the romantic new age instrumentals playing over the speakers.
Fun and invigorating aquatics classes are offered to adults through Santa Clara Adult Education at 1840 Benton Street and the Santa Clara Senior Center at 1303 Fremont Street.
“The water exercise program is just one [of many] avenues for exercise we have here,” says Becky Pestarino, a supervisor with Santa Clara Adult Education who oversees the aquatics classes at both the adult school and the senior center. “Water is a fantastic environment for exercise because we don‘t have gravity pulling us down all the time. Exercising in the water is good for building the cardiovascular system, building strength, and [relieving] the joints.”
Pestarino is pleased to announce that the adult school now has a brand-new heated outdoor pool with locker room and shower facilities.
In addition to offering swimming classes and lane lines for lap swimming, the adult school also offers aquatics fitness classes with catchy names, such as Ageless Aqua, Aqua Zumba, Latin Water Exercise, and Fresh Friday Flair.
Participants in the Ageless Aqua class develop balance and coordination while doing exercises, such as jumping jacks, in the water. The jam-packed water workout is for participants who have day jobs and want an early morning workout.
“The Aqua Zumba class is like Zumba, but in the water,” Pestarino explains. “The teacher we have is certified with the Zumba franchise. Zumba is a high-energy fast paced workout.
“The Fresh Friday Flair is a new class that we‘re starting for the first time,” Pestarino continues. “For this class, we‘re having all the teachers take turns teaching a class so students can try out each teacher. It‘s a potpourri of different teaching styles and students get something different and fresh each week.”
The Senior Center pool is an indoor, warm water pool set to a comfortable 92 degrees with a separate pool for lap swimming. The warm water exercise classes at the Senior Center are open to both seniors and non-seniors. Classes offered include Ai Chi, arthritis exercise, and low back conditioning.
“As you know, arthritis causes joint pain, and so being in the warm water offers a medium where students can move with ease,” Pestarino says. “There‘s not a lot of what is called weight bearing on the joints, so that helps students to move their arms and legs easily.
“The low back class is extremely popular and fills up on the first day of registration,” Pestarino adds. “This class helps people strengthen and condition the core area. Core muscle strength is essential for a healthy back.”
A new session of aquatics and warm water exercise classes offered at the adult school and the senior center, respectively, will begin in late February.
To view the Santa Clara Adult Education class catalog online for Spring 2013, go to http://santaclaraadulted.org, click on Catalog on the blue bar at the top of the page, and go to pages 16-18. Call (408) 423-3500 for information about registration.