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Swimming program Aquatrend ‘making waves’ in area hospital

Angie Brant Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Earlier this year, the Wellness Department at Garrett County Memorial Hospital launched a new program that — some might say — is “making waves.”

Called Aquatrend, this program is a combination of water aerobics and walking, designed to benefit people of any age or fitness level.

“The ideal goal for anyone, of any age or fitness level, is to exercise 30 minutes a day. With this class, participants have 60 minutes of exercise that is cardio, muscle and low-impact on joints,” said registered nurse Jeannie Miller.

“It’s awesome for patients with arthritis because it has very little impact on joints, while improving muscle tone and strength.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming is the second most popular sports activity in the United States and is an excellent aerobic activity.

The CDC has reported that two hours of physical activity, such as swimming, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses, while offering dramatic improvements to overall health and fitness.

Miller said water exercise can help improve the use of the arthritic joints without worsening symptoms and can, in some cases, reduce pain for patients.

Water-based exercise im-proves or maintains bone health in older adults, especially those with osteoporosis and also for post-menopausal women.

Miller said participants are often able to exercise longer in water than on land because it does to place added strain on already stiff or sore joints and or muscles.

“Water exercise offers bouyancy that supports the spine and for patients with injuries or who are recovering from surgery, this is perfect. It is exercise that is not weight-bearing, making it more comfortable and some even say helps people with pain issues,” Miller said.

Additionally, Miller said swimming can also help improve the mindset and mood of participants, adding that any kind of exercise is proven to help feelings of depression and anxiety.

Jenna Wilt, one of the hospital’s wellness coordinators, said the response of participants has been positive, as many attest that this class is both a great workout and simply put: fun.

“Everyone loves it and with classes offered at different times, it is convenient for most schedules,” Wilt said.

“You do not have to be able to swim to take these classes. We do have some people that have never been able to swim that stay in the shallow end and really enjoy the workout,” she added. “It is a really great workout for people of any age.”

Both Miller and Wilt said the list of benefits of water exercise are impressive and urge everyone to consider adding this class to their exercise regime.

During each Aquatrend class, participants are lead through a series of water exercises that include shallow-water walking.

Through these classes, participants can expect to experience improved muscle tone, strength, cardiovascular function, circulation, endurance, flexibility, balance and range of motion. Shallow-water walking helps build endurance and strength, while boosting one’s metabolism, said Miller.

“These classes require no special athletic skills and are fun. People really enjoy getting together to do a workout that is low-impact but effective,” Wilt said.

Aquatrend classes are held Monday through Friday in the heated pools at the Community Aquatic Recreation Center at Garrett College, and at Garrett Rehab Services.

Classes are held on Thursdays from noon to 12:45 p.m. at the Garrett Rehab Services pool.

Classes at the CARC are held from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Membership is not required, and participants can attend individual classes or enroll for eight sessions or an entire year.

Interested parties may call Miller at 301-533-4295 or Wilt at 301-533-4313 for more information.

Contact Angie Brant at abrant@times-news.com.

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