Michelle Loewenstein
2 minute read
26 Oct 2014
8:00 am

Aqua Zumba: get fit and have fun

Michelle Loewenstein

It's not every day you find yourself shaking what your mama gave you in a swimming pool.

Picture: Thinkstock

For students in Erika Cruywagen’s Move It with Erika Aqua Zumba class, however, it happens on a regular basis.

After going to a few of Cruywagen’s regular classes at the Ferndale Recreation Centre, I was curious about trying out the new trend. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zumba, the fitness craze is all about toning up while having fun. It’s also referred to as dance fitness and incorporates Latin American moves and steps. No previous dance training is required to take part, and it’s perfect for anyone who hates the idea of sweating and grunting along with the rest of your neighbourhood at the local gym.

According to Cruywagen, the first official Aqua Zumba training course was given by Maria Browning, co-founder of the Aqua programme, in March 2013. It’s still very new to South Africa and can only be taught by someone who attended the 2013 seminar.

WATCH AND LEARN. Aqua Zumba instructor Erika Cruywagen shows attendees how it's done. Pictures. Valentine Nicol.

WATCH AND LEARN. Aqua Zumba instructor Erika Cruywagen shows attendees how it’s done. Pictures. Valentine Nicol.

So with bikini in hand and photographer in tow, I headed to the Linden indoor heated swimming pool. I had already made my first mistake – bikini tops are not designed for jumping around.

I’d advise anyone trying the class to keep a tank top on over your costume to avoid any awkward waterborne wardrobe malfunctions.

To get the most out of the class you need to stand in a spot where the water sits just under your armpits. I learnt this the hard way after misunderstanding Cruywagen’s instruction to move over – I moved forwards instead of sideways so I spent the first few minutes trying not to guzzle a chlorine cocktail.

Exercising in a pool is tougher than in a classroom, but in a good way. The water gives you a bit of resistance so you feel like you’re getting a real workout.

You also don’t need to worry about balance, as you’re supported by the water. Cruywagen somehow manages to imitate the movements while balancing on a chair, which can’t be easy.

STRETCH IT OUT. 78-year-old Diny Paulissen seemed to have a ball in the class. Pictures: Valentina Nicol

STRETCH IT OUT. 78-year-old Diny Paulissen seemed to have a ball in the class. Pictures: Valentina Nicol

The catchy Latin music used in Zumba classes on terra firma is also used for Aqua Zumba, making it impossible not to smile while you work. The class is fun and you soon get over feeling a little silly wiggling around in front of the people enjoying a swim at the venue.

I would recommend going to one or two regular Zumba classes before giving this one a try. You’ll get a feel for the movements, which will make doing similar ones in a pool a little more comfortable.