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Deep-water aerobics in Kihei

October 4, 2012 - Leah Sherman

Here's the thing: I severely dislike exercising — I hate sweating and I'm always worried that I'm going to look like a dork.

I was banned from the treadmill in college because I thought I was supposed to ride the belt backward when I was done and, instead of gliding to the end, went flying off and collided with a basketball player passing behind me. Totally true story.

The point is that me and exercise are not really friends. But I understand the need for it, so I'm on a quest to find my calling. It's possible that I may have found it on my first outing.

Welcome to deep-water aerobics. Held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (except for government holidays, when the pool is closed) at the Kihei Aquatic Center, 303 E. Lipoa St., the class is lead by Sara Zander and her assistant, Sunny. Sara is a certified personal fitness trainer and an instructor in group exercise, water aerobics, Zumba and aqua Zumba. She has been teaching the Kihei class since 2008.

There is no fee for the class — although donations are accepted — and buoyancy belts (donated by Maui Dive Shop), swim noodles and water dumbbells are provided. I recommend slathering on the sunscreen before you get to the pool and bringing a hat and sunglasses, because you will be directly in the sun. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to join. However, because this activity does take place where you will not be able to touch the bottom of pool, knowing how to swim is mandatory.

Now to Wednesday's class: There was no sweating. Because I was in the water, none of the other 25 (or so) students could see if I was doing the moves correctly — or at all. The class was divided into three skill levels with Sara calling out different moves for each group. I was, of course, with the beginners. Some of the beginner moves included (I hope I'm remembering the names correctly): jumping jacks; cross country, where you run in water with opposite legs and arms moving at the same time; mermaid, which involves holding on to the wall and kicking both legs back together; the backstroke; and several moves that involved the water dumbbells.

The hour went by really fast. It was fun to be in the water. There was lots socializing by the class regulars while they were working out. The atmosphere was very relaxed and welcoming.

Best of all, I didn't feel like I was exercising. But I was. Two hours later, I started to feel the ache in all the muscles that don't get used regularly. I thought to myself, "Oh my word! That's pure genius. I'm gonna have to go back."

Note: My personal photographer was not available Wednesday, so Sara kindly offered some photos of previous classes from her Facebook page. I also found some photos of the class taken in 2009 by former Maui News photographer Amanda Cowan (see the link at right).


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Sara shows students how to do a move. Photo via Sara Zander


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