City of St. Catharines launches aqua-cycle program

Photo Credit: City of St. Catharines

Photo Credit: City of St. Catharines

Last Tuesday St. Catharines launched their aqua-cycle fitness program at the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre.

As a result of funding support from the province’s Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, the city was able to acquire a number of Hydrorider Aquabikes. The bikes, which are designed specifically for aqua-cycle programming, were made available to the citizens of St. Catharines on October 2 at the Kiwanis Aquatic Centre.

The city of St. Catharines has recreational programming all year. The new bikes will be used to enhance the fall and winter programming by taking the city’s typical spinning class and placing it under water. The aqua-cycle program is designed to strengthen legs, arms and the core.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the program, so we’re excited to launch [it] as a new way for residents to challenge and enjoy themselves,” said Koby Vanyo, programs supervisor for the city of St. Catharines. “We get to bring the gym to the pool, allowing participants to keep cool and become healthier at the same time.”

The rider is buoyant in the water and the body tries to float, which requires challenging the core and trunk to remain seated. This greatly alters the typical feel of riding a fitness bike and offers a degree of variability to the workout.

“There is quite a different sensation of physical work experienced in the water,” said Jennifer Green, aquatics supervisor. “The ability to add arm work and using water as resistance varies the workout and intensity.”

Aqua cycling originated in Italy as a type of athletic rehabilitation. A physical therapist discovered that pedaling underwater effectively helped athletes who had suffered from a knee injury. The experience is easier on the joints and allows for a wider range of participants to get involved in the class.

“The Aqua Cycle program allows participants who are no longer able to ride a bike on land to experience the feeling, freedom and joy of riding in the water,” said Green.

In addition to Aqua Cycle, the city also launched an Aqua Zumba program this fall. The class takes the Zumba fitness program, which infuses low-impact, high-energy exercise with Latin rhythms and moves, under water. The water creates a natural resistance, meaning every step is more challenging and helps tone muscles. The city of St. Catharines also offers a variety of drop-in aquatic fitness classes, ranging from aquafit to therapeutic aquatics programs.

For information on programs, availability and to register go to stcatharines.ca/eplay. Information on all of the city of St. Catharines’ fall and winter recreation and aquatics programs can also be found in their leisure guide online at stcatharines.ca/LeisureGuide. To keep up to date with events happening in and around the city, students can engage with The Brock Press on social media @thebrockpress.

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