‘Senior Splash’ gives older folks chance to use Meeker Rec pool

JEFF BURKHEAD Senior adults exercised in the pool Oct. 1 at Meeker Recreation Center. “I’ve seen great benefits the water has done for people,” said aquatic fitness instructor Layne Pearce.

JEFF BURKHEAD Senior adults exercised in the pool Oct. 1 at Meeker Recreation Center. “I’ve seen great benefits the water has done for people,” said aquatic fitness instructor Layne Pearce.
MEEKER I The pool at the Meeker Recreation Center isn’t popular just with kids.
Adults enjoy it, too.
“A lot of people think of the swimming pool as being full of kids,” said Layne Pearce, an aquatic fitness instructor and personal trainer on the recreation center staff. “There are very quiet times when people can come to the pool and not be interrupted by kids splashing.”
Like from 8:10 to 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The ones splashing in the pool at those times are senior adults.
“The pool was designed not only for recreation, but for health,” said Mike Steele, 64, who attends the three-times-a-week class called Senior Splash. “In three months, I’ve gone from not being able to move around to where I’m a lot better and my legs are getting stronger.”
“Oh, I think it’s great,” said Mickey Reagle, 83, who attends the Senior Splash. “I’ve been with the class since they started last summer. It’s a good workout. I’m one who likes to exercise, and they really give a nice workout for people our age.”
Sharon Clapper, 65, agrees.
“I love it,” she said of exercising in the pool. “I’ve been swimming every morning since they opened. I had knee replacement and as soon as they allowed me to get in the water, I did. I just encourage people to get in the pool. It’s just so much easier. You can do things with the water you can’t do on land. It’s a great way to go.”
The recreation center doesn’t have a water therapist, but fitness instructor Pearce has seen the benefits of water exercise.
“I would love at sometime to have a therapist utilizing the pool. But we are just encouraging the benefits of water, not just for therapeutic (reasons),” Pearce said. “Especially for the mature adult, because of the impact reduction you have with water.
“There’s a misconception about the pool. But you don’t have to be doing laps. You don’t have to be horizontal. You can stay totally vertical. You can walk laps. You can water run. And there’s zero impact,” Pearce said. “Just getting people comfortable in the water. We have so many different areas of the pool that can adapt to anybody, whether they have physical limitations or a fear of water. I’ve seen some great benefits the water has done for people. I don’t want to give the misperception that we’re promoting therapy rehabilitation, but for overall wellness and post-therapy, what a great place.”
There’s even a special ladder — designed for people with physical limitations — to help with getting in and out of the pool.
Once they are in the pool, the benefits of water exercise include:
• It’s low impact
• Increases strength and flexibility
• Provides a full-body workout
• Improves muscular endurance and balance
• Increases energy
• Low risk of injury
• Reduces stress
• Builds strong bones
• Improves cardiovascular fitness
• Therapeutic
Dr. Albert Krueger, chief of the medical staff at Pioneers Medical Center, is sold on the benefits of water.
“The aquatic center in Meeker has created a wonderful opportunity for water exercise,” Krueger said. “The pool is a great place to improve or maintain cardiovascular fitness and endurance by swimming laps. For those who suffer from arthritis and obesity, exercising in water very much decreases the pressure on their joints. This allows for building of strength, easing of stiff joints and the relaxation of sore muscles. Quite a few of my elderly patients have discovered water therapy as a joyful and rejuvenating activity.”