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Water aerobics keeps retirees moving

Westhaven - water aerobics (1).JPG

The ladies of Bolton Clarke’s Westhaven retirement village in Harristown know how to keep fit – and have plenty of fun while doing so.

During the warmer months, resident Edith Oxenham leads a group of eight regular attendees in twice-weekly water aerobics.

She says the love of the water and the fun helps them stay motivated to keep their fitness routine going.

“I’ve been doing water aerobics for 20 years,” she said.

 “And over that time, I’ve picked up a few exercises so now I lead the group. We do what we can – it’s not perfect but it gets the body moving! In the summertime, it’s been very good.

“It’s great for us, because we get to stretch and work our muscles without the strain.”

Her favourite pool exercise is making a whirlpool, and then moving against the current, much like many would have done when they were children.

“But you can’t let the current carry you. You’ve got to push against it – it’s a good workout!”

Edith grew up around the water, in Melbourne near Port Phillip Bay, but her fellow water aerobics devotees are more the country-bunch.

“I think these country ladies were always a bit deprived in the water department!” she says.

Country woman Rae Lloyd, who loves to garden, said she used to jump in the dam on the farm if it got “stinking hot.” When she’s not gardening, she’s under Edith’s instruction in the pool.

“We try and do it at least once or twice a week,” she says.

“Edith is a good instructor – we have a lot of fun.”

Bobbie Harms has been involved in the group since she moved to Westhaven five years ago.

‘It’s really helped me stay fit,” she says. “Edith gives us gentle encouragement to try harder – we’re all happy to do what she says.”

Village newcomer Bing Jackson says the group has helped her make new friends and settle in.

“I have been here for 12 months, and I love it here at Westhaven,” she said. “Its very nice here, peaceful – it’s heaven!

“I was welcomed so warmly. I’ve made lots of friends – including all these ladies! I’ve enjoyed the fitness and the connection.”

She says she’s been unable to convince her husband to join her in the pool.

“We can’t get the men involved,” jokes Edith.

“We think they’re missing out on the fun and camaraderie!”

In the winter, the group does tai chi instead of getting in the pool.

‘It’s excellent for stretching too,” said Edith.