Don’t let sore joints stop you from exercising. Water aerobics is a fun activity for most ability levels. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Don’t let sore joints stop you from exercising. Water aerobics is a fun activity for most ability levels. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Water aerobics is heart-pumping good time for every generation

Not only is it a gentle workout on your knees, but it’s also fun to do the rocking horse to ’80s music.

The first time I joined the Baby Boomer crowd for late-morning water aerobics, I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be a gentle workout on my knees, which had been bothering me. That turned out to be true. Water aerobics brought my heart rate up without hurting my joints. But what I didn’t bargain on, was how much fun the class would be.

To begin with, there was the rad 1980s playlist. When “Take on Me” by A-ha came on, lots of us sang along. “Take on me (take on me). Take me on.” They even hit the high notes in the squeal at the end of the chorus. After A-ha came a solid number from Huey Lewis and the News.

“This teacher always chooses the best songs,” said the woman in front of me. “Not like the other instructor.”

“The other instructor is horrible,” said her friend. “Why don’t they fire her already?”

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but it was impossible not to. The ladies cracked jokes like Laverne and Shirley.

“Oh gosh,” said the woman in front of me as she stared through the glass window into the lobby. “Do you see who I see?”

“Flip him off,” said her friend. “Give him the finger. I dare you.”

I bounced higher so I could get a better view into the lobby. All I could see were a cluster of grandpa-types holding water bottles. I was so busy being nosy, that I almost missed the cue to shift from knee lifts to rocking horse.

“Hi ho Silver!” called out a man behind me.

“Away!” shouted the class.

After that, every time our twenty-something teacher gave the cue for rocking horse, she looked like a deer caught in the headlights, wondering what would happen next. I’m not sure that she was old enough to understand the Lone Ranger reference.

As soon as I got home from class I texted two friends. “You’ve got to come with me to water aerobics,” I wrote.

At my next class, my friends Erin and Emily came with me. Both of them showed me up big time.

Erin rocked a bikini. “I jumped around in front of the mirror before I came to make sure it wouldn’t slip,” she said.

Emily wore specialized water sneakers and ankle weights. “I did this when I was pregnant,” she explained. “It was great exercise.”

“Thanks for coming.” I led the way over to the window where we would have the best view. “I want to have as much fun as the two women in front of us,” I whispered discreetly.

The playlist that day did not disappoint, especially when “I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers came on. “But I would walk 500 miles,” a bunch of us sang. I joined them on the next line: “And I would walk 500 more.”

“I love the oldies,” said the twenty-something instructor.

“Oldies?” I stopped singing. “That’s not an oldie. That’s from my generation.”

The ladies in front of me laughed. “Welcome to the club, Kid.”

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at

Talk to us

More in Life

Homemade pot stickers are filled with seasoned ground pork and served with a garlicky dipping sauce. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Make these pork pot stickers with soy-garlic dipping sauce

These dumplings are a toothsome marriage of crispy (on the outside) and tender (on the inside).

Piselli (braised peas in tomato) from "Frugal Mediterranean Cooking" by Melanie Lionello (Page Street Publishing Co., 2020).

(Courtesy of Melanie Lionello)
Frozen peas, canned tomatoes a healthy, penny-pinching dish

An Italian grandmother’s recipe for piselli — braised peas in tomato sauce — costs 91 cents per serving.

John and Rebecca Roberts have been trail angels for the Pacific Northwest Trail since 2012.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Whidbey wandering on the rugged Pacific Northwest Trail

The trail snakes down the island on its often-confounding route from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Trapped in her room by a tricky doorknob, a sixth-grade girl relies on her brother to hear her cries for help. (Jennifer Bardsley)
A family comes together to solve a middle-of-the-night crisis

She was grateful that her son had heard his sister’s call for help. His late-night hours had proven useful.

Rue Cler’s stores make picnic-shopping fun in Paris.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Fine living at a Paris street market

Parisians shop almost daily because their tiny kitchens have tiny refrigerators, and fresh produce makes for a good meal.

Hope for a brighter future starts with the COVID-19 vaccine

The end of the pandemic is in sight. But this is the time to double-down on protecting ourselves and others.

(Getty Images)
You voted: The best bakery in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

How to unlock an Airbnb account locked because of COVID-19

When Paul Drews tells Airbnb that he has COVID-19, it locks his account. Now the company won’t unlock it. Is there a way to get his account back?

Our readers have voted on a few of their favorite things in Snohomish County. (Getty Images)
The best in Snohomish County, chosen by you

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

Most Read