Wellness Wednesday: We Show Up Because It’s Fun!

I’ve been blogging as a subscriber to Laurie Denomme’s WECOACH Workouts for five months now.

WECOACH Workouts has helped me reach a new fitness level. Laurie’s shoulder, back, and hip exercises allow me to twist to look behind me more easily when I’m backing out the car. I keep my workouts interesting by incorporating Laurie’s 7 foot positions, and my knees and hips are much happier. My stamina has increased, along with my energy level. I’m a little more lean. I can run further, swim longer, walk faster. When I got back into the pool after my 2019 illness, I was simply grateful to be in the water. Laurie has brought me a long way.

I’ve been exploring Laurie’s WECOACH Workouts with a group of my South Florida neighbors in our HOA community pool. Three mornings a week, two to seven of us show up about 8 o’clock and hop in the water for a 50 minute online class with Laurie. Some of us work. Some of us have kids. Some of us could sleep until 10 very happily. But we get to the pool. We even call ourselves The Mermaids. Now and then, a Merman joins us.

The morning WECOACH Workouts class in my community pool
The morning WECOACH Workouts class in my community pool (that’s me in the hat)

What really keeps me showing up at the pool is this amazing group. They are kind, supportive, and funny. And as each one has grown in confidence and skill in the water, she shares what she’s learned with others.

Today’s blog is about WHY? What has made this experience something we make time for? I asked this morning’s class participants to consider the question, and here is what they said.

Taking care of ourselves

C and me in the pool
C and me in the pool. Or is it ET and friend?

It is great to have fun while we work out to take care of ourselves. It is easier to do it when you are with caring friends.

Connie

What Connie doesn’t take credit for is instigating the entire effort. She learned to swim last year, overcoming a lifetime of fear of the water. She asked me to help her practice, and so my early morning schedule began including the pool.

Learning new things

I am learning English and French! “Very good!”

Rosa
Holding a plank position in the water is a great core exercise!

Rosa, who has lived most of her life in Colombia, is not only improving her language skills but also has made the most progress in her water skills. Look at the satisfied smile as she demonstrates a plank with a pool noodle during one of Laurie’s plank variation workouts!

Challenging ourselves

While the exercises are challenging, we are in a good mood, joking and helping one another, stress free.

Carol

Carol joined us recently, and she has made great progress in understanding how to use the water’s resistance and buoyancy. In fact, she’s taking the plunge and has started swim classes! Confidence abounds in this group.

Having attended the class this morning is undoubtedly why I find myself in a happier mood than usual. I appreciate the positive effect.

Carol

Feeling energized

I’ve noticed that I have more energy now that I’m doing these classes.

April

April—who missed “class picture day” in the pool😊—is also a recent addition to our class. The pool noodles she contributed to the class give everyone a chance to play with different buoyancy and resistance.

Finding our limits

One of Laurie’s trademark phrases is “your feel- good range,” as she encourages each participant to explore the movement within what feels good to our bodies. Evelyn, who also subscribes to WECOACH Workouts, has taken to using the phrase independently during our pool time.

You’ll know from my face when I’m in my “feel good range.”

Evelyn

Having fun

In a word, fun!

Carol

We laugh and talk and have fun, I just enjoy the time with you all.

Rosa

I enjoy the laughter and fun as well as getting to know my neighbors.

April

My kids have their play dates, now I have my own fun time, I love playing with friends at the pool. And the best part is that I am still able to proudly say to my doctor “yes I do“ when the uncomfortable question comes up: Do you work out? 😊

Olga

So subscribe today and discover the fun that awaits in WECOACH Workouts!

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Wellness Wednesday: WECOACH Gives Us 20 New Ways to Jog…or Is It 60?!

Walking for the first time two months after my May, 2019 illness in Amsterdam.

I have written about how plantar fasciitis put an end to my running on dry land in upstate New York years ago, opening the door to working out in a new environment, the water. When I retired to South Florida, I became a water fitness instructor.

A ruptured aneurysm and six weeks in an Amsterdam ICU stay in 2019 sapped me of all my strength. It took me another six weeks of hospital rehabilitation to be able to stand on legs that felt like empty cardboard tubes. I walked onto a Florida-bound airplane a month later.

Literally a step at a time, I dedicated myself to engaging my body into living my life. Somewhere along the way early on, I corrected my gait from heel strike to midfoot strike, allowing my body to better absorb the impact, and keeping my stride under my torso. Now, I’m able to run 3 miles several times a week. My plantar fasciitis is dormant.

Returning to gentle jogging on the South Florida beach

WECOACH Workouts

Running, though, with its repetitive, pounding movement, is hard on a body. For a well-rounded workout, I continue to exercise in the water. Water’s buoyancy supports the joints while water’s resistance increases the intensity of the movement along the entire length of the muscle.

As we move through the water, all of our movements are resisted. That is a beautiful thing because it means that we are training through the entire range of motion.

Laurie Denomme, WECOACH Workouts

WECOACH Workouts founder Laurie Denomme is my water coach. Laurie’s 6-7 Formula trains the body to be flexible and strong by moving in 6 directions — front to back, side to side, and left and right rotation — and in 7 foot positions — neutral, wide, narrow, turned out, turned in, left foot forward, and right foot forward.

The 6-7 Formula improves range of motion, connectedness, and balance.

Laurie Denomme, WECOACH Workouts

20 new ways to jog in the pool

Recently, Laurie married running and water in a new workout: Twenty New Ways to Jog in the Pool. In addition to the 6-7 Formula, Laurie has you running forward, backwards, sideways (can’t do THAT on land!), and in circles. She encourages us to experiment with intensity, feeling our way from light, to moderate, to vigorous effort.

My pool pals O and E, both former runners, recently did this workout with me. Buoyancy made it easier to move; although they were breathing hard, they were able to keep going without stopping for 30 minutes, far longer than either one could have run on land. They felt the workout throughout their bodies. O can’t believe that she’s worked up a sweat, and E tells us that she sees her new fitness level in her dog’s tiredness after a walk.

Levels add core work

Notice how Laurie gets her heels down to the pool floor every time? This rebound impact is the most commonly used. You can change to grounded impact by submerging your shoulders, keeping your toes, but not your heels, tapping the floor. You’ll feel your core engage and your legs stretch. Suspended impact is most easily done in deep water, getting everything off the pool floor while the torso remains vertical. It’s all core.

20 X 3 levels = 60+ ways to jog

So, using the three levels and varying the effort, there are an almost unlimited number of ways to jog in a pool. You’ll be getting a whole body workout that will increase your resilience, your endurance, and your happy-chemical endorphins.

Perhaps the best part of all is that running in water feels like play. And when you laugh, you are breathing! It’s all good.

The WECOACH Workouts subscription

You can browse additional classes on Laurie Denomme’s WECOACH YouTube channel. When you’re ready for more, for less than a dollar a day, subscribe to WECOACH Workouts 14-day, 21-day, and new Everyday Strong 1.0 28-day fitness programs. There, you’ll find a class schedule, tailored workouts, coaching tips, even a progress sheet. All you need to add is you!

Each member-exclusive program includes water workouts and tips to help you feel your way to better results. Download your success tracker PDF in “resources” and watch the video tips provided in the selected program playlist. You’ve got this!

Laurie Denomme, WECOACH Workouts

Wellness Wednesday: What Water Exercise Can Do For You

Water saved my life

On Christmas Eve 2019, I wrote that water keeps saving my life. My work as an instructor of aquatic exercise had me fit enough to survive a ruptured arterial aneurysm and six weeks in an Amsterdam ICU in May of 2019, and I recovered the ability to move in water long before I could replicate those moves on land as my recovery continued back home in Florida.

Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach County, Florida

Today, I’ve tapped into two friends who are water fitness instructors — Janet Weisenford, who teaches at the Boca Raton YMCA, and Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness — to help explore why water is such a great environment to exercise in, and what specific moves are the most useful.

Water gave a runner new legs

I discovered the wonderful magic of water fitness after being a distance runner for many years. I suffered from arthritis and needed to find another way to keep physically and mentally fit. At my massage therapist’s suggestion, I decided to check out aquatic exercise.

Janet Weisenford, Aquatics Exercise Association certified instructor at the Boca Raton YMCA

The water fitness class she took opened a new chapter for Janet Weisenford, a long-time teaching buddy. She discovered that she could get a great total body workout — cardio, strength training, and flexibility. Janet was so captivated that she became a certified instructor through the Aquatics Exercise Association, where she learned more about the water and its properties. Here is what Janet says about why water is such a great exercise medium:

  • Water’s buoyancy cushions our joints, allowing former runners like myself to run in the water with minimal impact.
  • The water also offers resistance, not only building muscle but also building or maintaining bone density.
  • Water workouts can also improve flexibility. The reduced effects of gravity allow you to move through a greater range of motion.

Flexibility, Janet says, is important for doing everyday activities, especially as we age, and it is often a component of fitness that is overlooked.

I can attest to that. There is nowhere better to stretch than in a pool, supported by the water.

Water exercises for core

As I learned during my recovery, core muscles bear the burden of holding us upright, ready for life. So focussing on these torso workhorses is an excellent idea. I asked Marlo Scott, with whom I’ve published posts on posture and on weight loss, for her favorite core exercises.

Core is a no-brainer: The plank, the push-up, and the bicycle.

Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness

Notice how the old-fashioned sit-ups aren’t on Marlo’s list? The bicycle works not only the mid-section abdominals but also the obliques, back muscles, gluteus and hips while improving coordination, stability, and flexibility. The plank and push-ups add work for the chest, back, and arm muscles.

In the water, I love cross country skiing and then anything that involves a twist — even better, a twist with a noodle. I also think pull ups at the pool’s edge are fantastic. And front and rear leg kicks (as in doing the backstroke and the crawl) are great, too.

Marlo Scott of First Class Fitness and Wellness
Jane Kelly Amerson Lopez pool demonstration: jogging, plank, bicycle.

Try it for yourself

If you haven’t tried a class or a water workout at home, please do! I am sure that you will become a fan!

Janet Weisenford, Aquatics Exercise Association certified instructor at the Boca Raton YMCA
Marlo Scott jumping for the joy in her new water exercise gear!