Iolans take the plunge

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Register/Anne Kazmierczak
Water isometric instructor Juantita Tolle and Kathleen Sinclair do some stretching in Iola’s Riverside Park pool Friday morning. The Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11 a.m. to noon classes are free and open to all with pool admittance.

“It’s not aerobics,” said Pauline Hawk, instructor of the summer isometric water exercise program at Iola Municipal Pool.
Aerobics involves vigorous exercise designed to raise heart and respiratory rates, and “we don’t move fast enough for it to be aerobic,” Hawk explained.
Isometrics, on the other hand, uses resistance.
“You work against the water; it’s a strength building exercise.”
That it is, said substitute leader Juanita Tolle of Moran and Iolan Kathleen Sinclair.
“It’s mostly stretching,” Tolle put in. And “range of motion stuff” added Sinclair.
The water isometrics class meets three times a week at the pool, from 11 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and again from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Super 8 Motel on Iola’s east edge.
It’s predominantly seniors who attend the classes, probably due to the hours they are offered, said Tolle. “But we don’t complain. We’re just grateful we can use the pools.”
Water is a great medium to exercise in for those with body aches or injuries, Tolle said, because it is supportive. For those with stability issues, “it helps you keep your balance,” Hawk said.
The water’s buoyancy cushions body mass, making it especially easy for heavy people to exercise, Tolle said.
“There are things we can do in the water that we could not do on land,” she said. “I can do jumping jacks in the water and it’s fun. If I tried it on land, I’d get tired out quickly.”
And, Tolle added, “It’s great for people with arthritis or other limitations because it releases some of that pain.” Tolle herself is an arthritis sufferer, and said the water exercise really helps.
In addition, working out against the push of a fluid strengthens muscles.
“We try to make the most of each move,” Tolle said, explaining why isometrics is done slowly and consciously. “You use more muscle if you do the exercises under water,” she explained.
Sinclair said her doctor, Brian Wolfe, recommends water exercise for seniors. “He said water is wonderful,” she noted.
Other doctors recommend it as well, said Tolle, who recently moved from Kansas City, where she participated in water exercise at a year-round community aquatics center.
It’s also, Hawk noted, “good for prenatal because you don’t bounce around a lot.”
Anyone who wishes is welcome to come to the classes, Tolle said. No registration is required. Merely show up and pay the appropriate pool fee to join in. The pool at Riverside Park costs $2 for adult entry; Super 8 charges $2.50.
Besides building strength, Tolle said, the water just feels good. Good enough for her to drive to Iola four times a week.
“It’s for me,” she said. “It’s for my health.”