Healthy Options: from Water Aerobics to Balance…Delaware Seniors Working Out for Life

What is “water aerobics” and why is it good for most people? For starters, it’s a form of aerobic exercise that takes place in the water and is usually composed of a variety of exercises. Aerobic exercise is any sustained workout that exercises large muscle groups, increases your heart rate and makes your lungs work harder. An hour of water aerobics burns between 400 to 500 calories, rivaling a one-hour stint playing pickleball (500-600 calories)!

Pamm Pauley at the Paynter’s Mill Pool

There is a whole lot more to water aerobics.  And few people know more about water aerobics and other forms of fitness than Pamm Pauley. Sheer joy permeates her face as she teaches a (mostly) senior group at the Paynter’s Mill pool.  

Pauley has been teaching water aerobics classes, Zumba, and other exercise/fitness programs for 30+ years. She is an ACE Certified Fitness Instructor, a Certified Zumba and Aqua Zumba Instructor and an ARC Certified Lifeguard with CPR and AED Certification.  

Ninety percent of her students are seniors, and women.  For them (and all of us seeking to face each new year well), her advice is “KEEP MOVING!! It’s easy to become inactive as we age,” she says. “Research indicates that aging bodies need motion. Aching joints and muscle atrophy are clear indicators that the body needs to move.” 

“Grab a friend/buddy or spouse and get involved in an activity. There are many great opportunities in and around Sussex County,” she says. “Water aerobics classes work well for those needing a Cardio workout without pounding their joints. It offers weight-bearing exercise and gives those with joint and/or muscular pain and injuries an opportunity to exercise safely in the water”.  

One Paynter’s Mill student, April Wiaczek, became a water aerobics devotee after moving to Delaware from Boston in 2019. “I didn’t know anyone, she said. “I wanted to do water aerobics to meet people with the extra benefit of getting a little exercise”. She had taken only one or two classes previously. “They were great for stretching but not too demanding, so I expected the Delaware class to be relatively easy”, she added. “I was surprised with Pamm ‘s classes – what a workout!  She puts so much into them; her passion is contagious. I feel stronger and more flexible and have met some amazing people. Mission accomplished”! 

Pauley maintains a rigorous schedule. Besides Paytner’s Mill, she teachers at Vincent Outlook, Senators, Showfield, Four Seasons at Belle Terre and Peninsula Lakes. Her repertoire includes  Aqua Aerobics, Aqua Zumba, Aqua Yoga and Aqua Tabata as well as classes at the Lewes  Senior Activity Center such as Strength and Balance, Zumba, Yoga and Cardio Blast (a modified Boot Camp workout). In her “spare time”, the Milton resident is also a hair stylist at Bad Hair Day

Pauley’s Balance Class at the Lewes Senior Center

Her Lewes Senior Activity Center strength and balance workouts are not for the faint of heart. Attendees know they are in for a rigorous workout. Pauley tells potential students to check with a primary care doctor before signing up for a program.  

Pauley advises caution when seeking the right class for specific needs and goals. In general, she suggests a form of cardio – walking, dancing, or some type of aerobics in the water – plus a good strength program consisting of weight or resistance training for the weight bearing portion. Strength builds better balance. “These three components, Cardio, Strength and Balance are key to actively aging,” she says. Nutrition plays an important role in staying healthy. A routine of protein, fruit and vegetables will keep the body clean of sludge buildup. Most importantly, she notes, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!,”  

“I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people here”, she said. “My students inspire me every day. It is a joy to hear their testimonies of how exercising has helped them with basic functions. Their success stories have been truly rewarding. Seeing their smiles in class is PRICELESS!!!!” 

The Sussex Y in Rehoboth also offers water aerobics, and that’s just in our small search. Whether it’s water aerobics or another class in your health regimen, get active and ENJOY life more with so many options to actively connect all around!

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

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Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

2 responses to “Healthy Options: from Water Aerobics to Balance…Delaware Seniors Working Out for Life

  1. Interested in warm water aerobics mid October in Lewes. Member of Lewes Senior Activity Center.
    Also certified American Heart CPR.
    Support group for folks with swallowing issues. Esophageal difficulty , nutritionally challenges, normalization in social settings.

    Melody 🎶

    1. Hi Melody,
      Thanks so much for the reply. I’ll ask our journalist to pass on your comment to the instructor we featured, so perhaps she can be in touch 🙂

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