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‘One of the reasons that I really pushed for individuals to do water aerobics is because I know myself the benefit of it.’

Pamela Hardin and Jennifer Reed.jpeg
Sarah Petrowich
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This week we hear from Pamela Hardin, a water aerobics instructor at Columbia’s Activity and Recreation Center. She's a water aerobics instructor at Columbia's activity and Recreation Center and leads a class called “Moving My Joints,” which is designed for those who have arthritis or just need slower paced exercise.

She spoke with her student Jennifer Reed about how beneficial water workouts can be – no matter how old you are.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

Jennifer Reed: I decided to do water aerobics so I could maintain good health, and it was one of the few choices that I had for exercise because I have bilateral knee replacements, and back surgery, and I've overworked my body.

Anyway, I love water aerobics. I think in the 10 years I've gone there, we’ve had a core group of women, and we are all on email, which is something for women over 70. So, we try to keep in touch with each other; it's sort of encouragement on top of that.

But the water exercise, and the aerobics, and the moving joints… I think, for anyone over 60, it's almost necessary.

Pamela Hardin: And that's one of the things that I love about water aerobics, especially with the Moving Our Joints, because I too have had back surgery. That was one of the reasons why I started attending water aerobics. I've actually had two back surgeries, and it was recommended by my doctor to do this, to get more mobile, because I was bedridden seven months.

And so that's what got me out — moving — was getting back and being able to do the workout in the water without putting all that pressure on my back. And then I loved it so much that I started teaching way back in 2008.

"But the class itself is geared towards building not only our physical, but our mental. So, we do take a moment every now and then to just kind of say 'Let's just relax our mind' and sit and think about, you know, some of the good things in life and just kind of relax and make the day a better day."
Pamela Hardin

So, that's one of the reasons that I really pushed for individuals to do water aerobics is because I know myself the benefit of it, and then I'm so glad that you mentioned the actual interaction with people, because even though we're working our bodies, physically, it is also a mental thing.

Jennifer: It is.

Pamela: It's a lot of unity and encouragement, you know, we're able to help each other out; we can talk about things that, you know, you may not just run into somebody on the street and discuss, but it's kind of a club.

Jennifer: It sort of is.

Pamela: So, we're able to workout together and encourage each other through what we're doing in the water.

But the class itself is geared towards building not only our physical, but our mental. So we do take a moment every now and then to just kind of say “Let's just relax our mind” and sit and think about, you know, some of the good things in life and just kind of relax and make the day a better day.

But we also, you know, we go through the normal routine of things by working out, doing the physical aspect of the class with Moving Our Joints, and it is a little bit lower impact than it is in the other classes. So we're able to incorporate people that are not able to do a higher impact aerobics class in the water.

But it's a great program for anybody of any age—

Jennifer: I think so; that’s true.

Pamela: —to do, and we've had some younger people that have come and joined the class, and we've enjoyed them as well.

And I love having Jennifer in the class because you are very social. And that's a plus; that's a great thing. So it encourages other people to be social, and that's good too. And you do have a high tolerance because you move a little bit faster in the water than some, so it encourages other individuals.

Sarah Petrowich studies cross platform editing and producing within journalism, as well as political science at the University of Missouri - Columbia.