Sam branches out, tries Aquafit, and returns to indoor rowing

A few months ago–about six months ago actually–when I first hurt my knee, I didn’t have a lot of choice when it came to exercise. Mostly life was all about managing pain. Compression ice packs, ibuprofen, and knee physio was my world.

I could spin, in a small spinny gear, and that was about it. It was good physio but it didn’t feel much like exercise. A few months in I tried the elliptical. Nope. Too much pain. Then I tried the rowing machine. Same. Ouch! No running and no walking so mostly I did physio, a lot of it. I also got some weightlifting in.

Now I’m making my way back. First up, I could ride on the trainer in big gears and I could ride while standing. I started taking spin classes at the university gym. Bike yoga was my favorite. 30 minutes of spinning, followed by 30 of yoga for cyclists. That felt like serious progress.

The knee brace has really helped with walking. I can a walk a bit now. Here in Germany I’ve been logging some 15,000 step days. That would have been unthinkable without the knee brace. I’m also riding my bike outside. I’ve been commuting by bike and I’ve had several longer rides on my road bike.

Last week, I decided to branch out again and tried the rowing machine at the gym. Surprise. All good. I did an easy 2 km for warm up. No 2 km tests just yet! I think rowing will be my go to cardio at the gym. It’s great exercise and I like tracking times and trying different drills. If there were a rowing studio here I might even go.

Then the following day I really branched out and went to AquaFit. Not my usual cup of tea but it’s easy to go in the morning or at lunch. All it requires is keeping a bathing suit in my gym locker.

Stock photo of aquafit. A group of women of different ages and skin colours in the pool doing aquatfit. They’re wearing one piece bathing suits and holding bright blue dumbbells above their heads.

In the shallow end it wasn’t perfect. If I jumped too hard I could hurt my knee and I needed to pay attention. It wasn’t as knee friendly as I’d imagined. In the second half hour though we were in the deep water and that was great. It was more of a workout than I expected. I’ll definitely go back.

I hadn’t been to aquafit since my last pregnancy more than twenty years ago. It’s one of those things that I think is fine for other people but not me. That’s odd because I love being in the water. And I’m not a snob about dance-y fitness classes with high energy dance music and show tunes.

I did the pregnancy aquafit classes at the Y with a crowd of mostly senior citizens. Maybe my attitude is ready just ageism? I was amused then by the women who came with their hair done and wearing jewelry. They told me I splashed too much. We decreed one section of the pool to be the splash free section. There were also some flirtatious old guys. They kept going on about my youthful good looks. I was about 7 months pregnant and didn’t mind being the babe of aquafit.

I recognized that I was kind of embarrassed by aquafit when I was happy that the lifeguard thought I was there for the Masters swim practise! Truth be told that was mostly about my bathing suit choice. Next time I’ll try to own it more proudly. Aquafit here I come!

A photo of three women wearing 1950s glamorous bathing caps. I think part of my problem with aquafit is the whole idea of glamour in the water! From

2 thoughts on “Sam branches out, tries Aquafit, and returns to indoor rowing

  1. Is there any aqua spinning where you are? In my local pool there’s a class I usually overlap with when I’m there for my Monday swim. It always looks like they’re having a lot of fun. They’re quite a mixed bunch too.

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