When I was a kid, my mum used to listen to 2WS – an AM radio station that played “classic hits”. Who knows if this radio station even exists anymore, but what I do know is that I can belt out tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s without a second glance at any karaoke screen.
So imagine the delight of some passers-by, around 10pm one Thursday, while I was sitting on my bike at a red light, happily (and perhaps a little too loudly) singing Can You Feel It by the Jackson Five?! You see, I was on my way home from Water Bootcamp – a 45 minute wet workout that made my arms sting and my legs reduced to jelly.
There must have been about 30 or so others who rocked up to Ir Ottenbad swimming pool to take part in this heart pumping, muscle burning treat. From the get-go it really was go, go, go! We started with a warm up that was like a water running, tummy training game of tag. I reveled at being back in a pool. I’d forgotten how weightless aqua exercise is. But gees, I was in for a shock. This bootcamp was just getting started.
Seven stations were set up in and around the pool. The instructor gave everybody a quick rundown of what to do at each one, and then divided us all up into groups of five or six. Every group went to their first station and the real workout began.
My group was made up of three women and three men. We were all different ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels, but what we all had in common was a sense of fun. Our first exercise was jumping up and down two steps in the water. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it? The first 90 second round was great. Then we got a 15 second rest. This is pretty easy, I thought. Then we did another 90 seconds. Ok, not so easy, I thought in the rest period. By the end of the third round I was happy to move on!
We made our way around the stations with the same time limits and you could really exercise with as much or as little intensity as you liked. There was no competition, just a load of laughs and a lot of motivation from the instructors who encouraged everyone along. There were splashing sit ups and leg kicks. There was regular swimming and poolside push ups. We had to scramble over floating mats and pull ourselves along the lane ropes. And without fail, the third round always felt the slowest, the heaviest and the hardest.
My body felt quite relieved when my ears heard those magic words “cool down”. I slowly swam to the shallow end of the pool and stretched my tired muscles. I was exhausted but exhilarated in that post sporty kind of way.
And could I feel it the next day? You bet!
Water bootcamp is on every Thursday evening from 20:30 – 21:30 at Ir Ottenbad. There’s no need to book and normal entry fees apply (currently €6 or €4 for over 65s).
For more information, please visit their website (in Dutch): Water Bootcamp at Ottenbad or leave a comment below if you’d like some more information in English.
This opinion piece was also published on Eindhoven Sport