Retain your strength at the Sussex Academy pool

October 1, 2017

Many retirees search for an exercise routine they enjoy, one that fits their lifestyle. Also, they look for an exercise that doesn't injure their aging body. This past summer, all of my dreams came true: Aqua Strength Training and water aerobics were being held at my neighborhood pool.

I waffled at first. Eight a.m. three days a week when I could be drinking coffee. How cold could the water be? At the advice of so many who joined last year, I took the plunge!

What exactly is Aqua Strength Training, you might wonder? The answer lies in the two buoyant dumbbells of varying weights we used for a series of exercises for our core, our abdominals, our leg, arm and shoulder muscles, and even our toes and hands.

Aqua Strength training was fun, challenging and a great workout. My senior body was sore, but in a good way.

One of the most difficult maneuvers for me was to move from an L position under water to a floating position on my belly, back to the L and then to a plank position. In plank pose, the dumbbells are submerged straight down in the water with your legs floating on top of the water behind you. The trick is to rely on your core strength to keep from wobbling for several minutes.

One of our participants, Patty Bennett, has MS. "I love this aquatics because I can walk in the pool without my canes! Very liberating. I cannot exercise on land anymore, so this is the only real exercise I get, and in the water, nothing hurts!"

Husband and wife Don and Kathy Lintvet were regulars all summer long. Kathy told me: "Our golf swing has improved! I have been rehabbing from wrist surgery and found the classes as therapeutic as a PT session. We both feel as though the classes have strengthened our core as well as increased our flexibility. After each class we are tired but are both energized at the same time."

I am thrilled to learn that these classes will be offered at the indoor pool at Sussex Academy in Georgetown this fall and winter. I gained muscle strength all summer, only to risk losing it once the weather turns cold.

Instructor Lydia Schmierer, who has been teaching aquatics for over 25 years, will be one of the instructors working at Sussex. Lydia explains, "My passion for teaching comes from experiencing the joy on the faces of all ages and abilities of people who take aquatic exercise."

Some classes are offered two or three days a week in the morning and the afternoon. A sampling of classes includes Strength Training, Arthritis, Cardio H2O Water Walking/Aqua Yoga and Oodles of Noodles (nonswimmers welcome). There are discounts for military and seniors. Go to to learn more about membership and classes.

Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Note: The pool will be closing at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and will reopen at 6 a.m., Monday, Oct. 9, with its new community locker rooms and nonslip flooring.

Write to