The Worcester JCC offers a trendy way to get fit

The weather outside is frightful … and some people choose to stay fit in winter by adopting a love for sports that take place on the blanket of snow that nature has provided. Skiing, snowboarding, curling, ice skating, snow shoeing — the options are certainly there. However, there are some of us who absolutely detest being outside in the cold and don’t enjoy these pastimes. One way that we can stay healthy (and warm) this year is to put on a swimsuit and get on a bike.

Wait…what?

I know — biking might not seem like a winter-friendly option, but this is a different kind of biking and one of the most popular fitness trends this year. These are aquabikes — also known as Hydroriders — and they are just what they sound like: Stationary bikes that are submerged in the water.

The Worcester Jewish Community Center provides 30- or 50-minute Hydrorider classes, beginning with a warm up that involves various body and hand positions, followed by a cardio peak portion of high-intensity and steady-state training. The water creates a natural resistance, giving you an ultimate conditioning experience. All you need is a water bottle, swimsuit or Lycra workout clothes and water shoes. Webbed gloves can increase resistance, and you don’t even need to know how to swim. Working out in the water offers many benefits. According to Derek Beckwith, director of the JCC, “A seasoned runner can experience the zero gravity of the aquatic environment as a recovery to the land-based pounding day after day, focusing on the rehabilitation of the knees, hips and back with the buoyancy and resistance of the water. Water also regulates body temperature and improves circulation.”

The bikes are submerged in approximately 4 feet of water, and because the exercise is easier on the joints, it decreases inflammation and still provides a great cardio workout, Beckwith says that “participants in our Hydrorider classes report that they get out of the water feeling energized instead of tired.”

This workout is for anyone, even those with exercise restrictions, and smaller classes sizes allow for the trainers to identify strengths and weaknesses in their individual participants, so modifications can be made if needed.

In addition to the aquabikes, the JCC provides people of all cultures and backgrounds a welcoming place to be active, healthy and engaged. The 80,000-square-foot center includes a variety of sports programs, personal and small group training (more than 50 classes per week), a fitness center, a spa with massage therapy, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, playgrounds and more. There are even lectures and discussion groups in literature and the arts, monthly social programs and volunteer opportunities.

For children, there are summer camps available, as well as early childhood programs. The center even offers babysitting services for those who need child care while they work out.

Most importantly, the JCC is constantly evolving and continues to offer more and more programs, such as the aquabikes. And Worcester is the perfect place for this type of center. Beckwith said, “The JCC provides multi-generational programs that serve the needs of this vibrant and diverse city and also provides a wonderful source of community-building, fun and educational opportunities.”

The Worcester JCC is located at 633 Salisbury St., Worcester. If you are interested in learning more about aquabike classes or other offerings at the Worcester JCC, you can contact the center for a free tour of the facilities or visit worcesterJCC.org.

Jennifer Russo

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