Water fitness classes aid in recovery, better health

Roseville's indoor pool offers several group classes for swimmers 14 and older
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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In cases of hydroencephalitis, water accumulates in the brain and puts pressure on this vital organ.

For Roseville resident Tony Alvarado, a diagnosis of the condition in 2008 meant a year of hospital stays and four brain surgeries.

“Without this facility, I would not be where I am today,” Alvarado, 58, said.

That facility is the city-owned and operated Mike Shellito Indoor Pool in Roseville, which opened about two years ago and offers several fitness classes in the water. These include Hydro Power and Strength, Aqua Zumba and an Arthritis Foundation aquatic program.

The facility includes an eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool with depths from 3.5-feet to 8.5-feet, and a 1,500-square-foot warm water pool up to 5-feet deep.

Group classes are open to people 14 years and older, and lap swimmers must be at least 13 years of age. The morning sessions are mainly comprised of seniors, with younger customers opting for evening classes. The Parent Tot Playtime is also open for adults and their kids three times a week.

Recreation Specialist Megan Hylton said the classes suit people of all ages, but are especially beneficial for seniors.

“It gets them moving,” Hylton said. “The warm water in the (smaller) pool is good for their joints. It gets their heart rate going. They get stronger and build up their cardiovascular strength.”

On a recent morning, 16 seniors participated in Off the Deep End, a deep-end aerobics course in the lap pool. Swimmers were supported with a flotation belt so they could focus on the instructor’s routines.

This is usually the smallest class because participants must be comfortable in the water and proficient swimmers. There is always a lifeguard on duty.

Alvarado takes the class each time it’s offered — three times weekly. He swims at least five days a week, often staying for the Nice n’ Easy class in the warm water pool afterward, which is the facility’s most popular class, Hylton said.

Instructors gear the class toward seniors, and participants must be able to walk and support themselves in the water. About 30 people attend each class, and some swimmers arrive early just to socialize.

Alvarado started taking the arthritis class at the facility in August 2010, four months after undergoing his fourth brain surgery. He used to struggle with balance, and had no muscle mass or strength, he said.

“I used a walker,” Alvarado said. “I moved forward to using a cane, and I got rid of the cane six to eight months ago. A lot of that has to do with this place. I’ve been lucky. I feel like I’m blessed because I’m still here.”

He’s started taking Aqua Zumba, although he jokes he “can’t keep up with the lady.”

Fellow Nice n’ Easy student Sally Johnson, 75, has been swimming at Mike Shellito Indoor Pool for the past year and a half. She’s taken water fitness lessons for 20 years, and now swims in up to four classes daily.

“I enjoy all of them,” Johnson said. “They all offer something different.”

Sena Christian can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.


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Deadline: Offer expires Tuesday, Jan. 31

What is hydroencephalitis (hydrocephalus)?

  • Affetcs more than 1 million Americans
  • Diagnosed in people of all ages, from infants to elders
  • More than 1 out of every 1,000 babies in the United States is born with hydrocephalus
  • The most common reason for brain surgery in children
  • There is no cure for this chronic condition
  • The only known treatment is neurosurgical, which has barely changed since 1952
  • Even after treatment, many people face repeated surgeries and diminshed quality of life

Source: Hydrocephalus Association