Swimming pools offer a plethora of learning opportunities this summer

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By Wendy Migdal

As the class poster says, learning is how we continue to grow throughout our lives. With the onset of warm weather, however, thoughts of lazy days in the backyard entice more than burying our noses in books. It’s time to learn outside and master some physical skills. But physical activity in Virginia in the summer? The solution is obvious: the swimming pool. The pool can be so much more than a welcome relief from the outdoor sauna that is Virginia summer. It can also be a place to learn a new skill, and your local government can help you accomplish that.

Learn to swim

If you’ve never really mastered swimming, there’s no better time than the present. According to Sarah Barnett, water sports manager at Manassas City Park, “statistics show that most people, if they want to learn to swim, learn by the time they are in third grade. So when adults come to see us, they’ve often had years of fear of water. But there are always people who defy the statistics and take a learn-to-swim course for adults. In fact, she says interest has skyrocketed since the pandemic and half-empty sessions have been replaced by waiting lists.

“People overcome these fears because they have a purpose. Maybe they want to go out on a boat, but if they fall into it, it could be dangerous. Other people want to join a group exercise class and not be afraid that something might happen.

When they finish the sessions, she says, “we are regularly told, ‘I didn’t even go in the pool before, but now I can float on my back, or go out on a boat with my children or my grandchildren. children and not be afraid.'”

Unlike classes for children, Barnett says that with adults, instructors can often tailor classes to the individual goals of the students in the class. Some people want to work on running techniques, while others just learn how to float and straighten up from a horizontal position to a perpendicular position. Barnett warns that it can take a while and people shouldn’t expect to swim after the first session.

Prince William County, Manassas Park and the City of Manassas all offer learn-to-swim classes for adults. Most range from four to eight weeks and prices vary. Places can fill up quickly, so potential students may not get in right away.

For adults who are past the beginner level, intermediate courses are also available. Private swimming lessons are offered in Prince William at Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center and Sharon Baucom Dale City Recreation Center.

Burn and Learn

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of indoor pool exercise classes. Pool exercise classes can help you beat the heat, get your cardio minutes in, and learn at the same time. Like a traditional “land” aerobics class, water aerobics can involve a learning curve if you’ve never participated in it before.

Matching specified moves to the beat of the music can take some concentration at first. New neural connections are forged when people engage in activity that connects mind and body. All of this is good for brain health, just like learning to balance yourself in moving water. Even when you are not consciously aware of it, your lower brain works to absorb the stimuli of water movement generated by those around you and sends messages to your limbs to move in certain ways. to keep you upright. And of course, water offers the ultimate in endurance and low-impact work, strengthening muscles while being easy on joints.

All three locations offer a variety of exercise classes in their indoor pools. Manassas Park and Prince William County both offer shallow water courses, which means your feet are on the bottom of the pool, but you still get the benefits the water provides for ease of joints . The Prince William also offers deep water courses, where participants work on both cardiovascular endurance and strengthening in the deep end of the pool.

Walk in the water

If switching to music isn’t your thing, there are more watery alternatives. Prince William County offers a water jogging class, a low impact workout that aims to improve strength, range of motion and endurance. Manassas Park combines the best of the worlds of summer exercise and recreation with their water walking course at Signal Bay Waterpark (in addition to their indoor course). Participants walk outdoors in the lazy river
nights. They have the option of following an instructor to maximize the benefits of the workout or just enjoying it at their own pace. These sessions are available walk-in and attendees can purchase a punch card for 10 entries.

The Prince William area is rich in public resources. Take advantage of what’s available and invigorate your mind, body and soul this summer.

Wendy is a freelance writer who has lived in the Northern and Central Virginia area since 2000 and has written extensively for local and online publications. Wendy enjoys traveling around the area to learn about parks, restaurants, attractions, and especially history.

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