Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pop Goes the Noodle

I took my first aquacise class today. See the graceful, serene person in the photograph, in perfect harmony with the water and her buoyant foam noodle?

I am not in this picture.

To be fair, I was in trouble even before we got to the noodles. The class -- an instructor somewhat younger than I am and a group of hardcore students, all quite a bit older -- were very welcoming, but I'm really uncoordinated, especially when I'm trying anything new. So the instructor would show off maneuvers which involved things like touching the right palm to the left heel while kicking out with the right heel and spinning like a cork (there actually wasn't anything that complicated, but it all felt that complicated), and I'd be touching the right palm to the right heel while trying to kick with the left foot, and instead falling over.

The instructor was on solid ground at poolside, wearing a headset. Periodically, she'd stand in front of me and offer encouragement. "No, use the other foot, Sue. Left. Your other left. There, you got it! Ooops. No, honey, kick out and not back," and so forth. I was definitely the aquacise poster child.

After a while, the other students got into the act. "Susan, it will be easier if the water's only chest-high: you're too deep." "Lower. Get lower in the water. Squat." "No, honey, you're swimming now. You aren't supposed to be swimming." And so forth.

And then we started with the noodles.

The noodles are long, cylindrical foam floaty things with which one is supposed to perform fun tricks. Sit on your noodle like a swing and use your arms to propel yourself around the pool! Rest your ankle on your noodle to do a stretch! Put your noodle between your legs and ride it like a seahorse! My problem was that I couldn't find the proper center of gravity, so whenever the noodle was in the proper position, I couldn't stay upright, and when I arranged the noodle so I could stay upright, people started telling me it was in the wrong position.

Also, someone told me later that these were new noodles. When they're broken in, there's traction. These were very slippery, so I got most of my exercise during the noodle portion of the program by wrestling with a buoyant eel-like object which kept trying to get away from me, and which, in one instance, indeed flew out of my hands, shot up out of the water, and described a graceful arc as it came down on the head of the lady to my left.

She laughed, thank goodness. Noodles don't weigh much.

It was all very, very silly. It was a lot more bearable than seventh-grade gym class -- although that's not saying much -- because everyone was so nice. I can't say it felt like much of a workout, either, although maybe it would have if I'd been doing it right, and it was at least a light workout, which is nice some days.

So I'll try it again. But I'm looking forward to plain old swimming tomorrow!


  1. LOL! That was some good reading.

  2. Anonymous6:43 PM

    I solved the can't-follow-along-with-the-exercise-class problem with an exercise video and the comfort and privacy of my own home, but I guess that wouldn't work as well for aquacise as it did for step aerobics.


    P.S. I'll never remember that password!

  3. LOL I love water float toys, Susan! Don't worry about form. Just have fun with this. Be a child at heart and you'll get the hang of the balance thing in no time.


  4. Anonymous11:29 AM

    A couple of years ago, my aunt and uncle gifted the family with scans of my Grandmother's 90+ years of accumulated photo albums.

    It turns out, she was gorgeously svelt when she was young (she still is, but, well, you know, age plays its tricks...).

    So I asked her how she got that figure. Did she exercise? Did she diet? She said they hadn't heard of such abominations when she was broad where a broad should be broad. She said she just had a lot of fun.

    Fun was defined as going dancing, skating, walking, swimming, horsing around, etc. with her honey (later my grandfather).

    I've come to the conclusion that "no pain, no gain" is a lot of hooey if you can get a figure like my grandma had by just having fun!

  5. Heather1:45 PM

    I just started taking aqua aerobics too and as someone who is equally uncoordinated, I can say that it does get easier.

    Its also a good lesson (for me at least) in humility b/c everytime I go, I get totally schooled by regulars at least twice my age (I'm 32).

    Hang in there!

    ps- you are one of my favorite writers.
    Sorry, had to say it. Have a great day!

  6. Yes, hang in there, it gets easier and is very good exercise, fun too, I promise!

    Our instructors always tell new people it takes three classes to get the hang of aqua. For unco people like me make that six!

    You're using your muscles quite differently in aqua, so it takes a while for them to wake up and kick in. Especially if you do a lot of swimming, because your body memory for swimming will be screaming at you so loud that it's difficult to ignore it.

    Anyway, love your blog.

    Di (Australia)

  7. Thanks for the pep talks, everybody! And Heather and Di, thanks for the compliments!


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