Nothing tops off a rigorous spinning session like a refreshing dip in a cool pool.
But why wait until the ride’s over?
“Aqua cycling is for everyone, whether you’re pregnant, obese, recovering from an injury or training for a triathlon — or just someone who wants to have a really fun workout,” said instructor Kerri Mathieu, who teaches the cutting edge exercise option at the Raynham Athletic Club, the first gym in Massachusetts to offer it.
True to its name, aqua cycling is a spinning class in chest-deep water using specially designed stationary bicycles made of rust-proof marine-grade stainless steel.
Jane Marks of Raynham has taken two classes so far and said she’ll be back for more.
She said the tranquil workout is good for the mind and body.
“It clears your head,” said Marks, who plans to bring her 17-year-old daughter along for an upcoming class.
Mathieu said the water is more than just a treat for the senses. Its buoyancy helps support the body as it moves.
“There’s less stress on the joints and back,” compared to a traditional spinning class, she said.
But don’t be fooled. Aqua cycling is still a heck of a workout.
Your legs are burning the whole time, even as the water massages them. And you can feel your body temperature go up, Mathieu said.
“Although you’re working really hard, just being in the water is very soothing,” she said.
Mathieu started offering the classes in late July in the giant outdoor pool at the Athletic Club.
The area is family-friendly and has a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere, with lounge chairs, playground equipment and a built in kiddy pool. It’s hard to believe the outdoor haven, surrounded by trees and greenery, is just feet from busy Route 44.
During the classes, Mathieu plays a steady stream of music to keep the aqua cyclists motivated.
“The music helps to make the class. With good music, you work harder,” Mathieu said.
But it feels less like work, she said.
Mathieu, who owns the bicycles, currently has seven but will gladly expand her stock as demand grows, she said.
The bikes are adjustable and everyone goes at their own pace. Her goal is for everyone to want to come back. That means making it fun and challenging but not overwhelming.
“It’s your workout,” she said.
Classes are held at various times of day, some as early as 5:45 a.m., to accommodate different schedules. Mathieu said there’s no better way to start the day.
“You’ll be ready to tackle the world,” she said.
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