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

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