Exercise and water are two things that are very familiar to Anna Harrington.
Growing up in Savannah on the Tennessee River, Harrington spent many days on the water. Her affinity for water has continued through her adult life, while her love of exercise and passion for the Oxford community she has called home since 2004, have brought her full circle.
Harrington will be instructing a new Deep Water Aerobics class at the Oxford City Pool this summer.
Many in the community know Harrington through her job as the Director of Physical Therapy at Cornerstone Rehabilitation.
Over the years, she has achieved a lot of success rehabilitating patients in the water under various conditions, anywhere from cardiac rehab to post-op surgical joint rehab.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Harrington said as to why she decided to approach the OPC about starting this class. “I know it’s something new that the community doesn’t have, and I know that the OPC has a great pool. I know Jamie, who is in charge of the pool, she’s done a great job with new activities and new things happening at the pool. I thought this would be a great time to add something else. And honestly, for me, it’s a good time because I’ve reached the time in life where high-impact exercise on land isn’t really conducive. Exercising in the water provides great cross-training. It’s another option for me to exercise without getting injured or without pain in the joints.”
Exercise in the water is different, and while getting any activity on the land is great, taking a class in the pool is going to provide additional cardiovascular benefits.
“Being in the pool is non-load weight-bearing for the joints and that’s even more beneficial for those that have joint pain or swelling in the joints,” Harrington said “This is a great way to increase your flexibility and strength without pounding your joints on the ground. In the water, you don’t have gravity pulling down against you like you do on land. You have the buoyancy pulling up against you, so everything seems weightless like you’re in space. Your body is able to move through a larger range of motions without as much pain because of the buoyancy in the water, so it’s very beneficial in that regard.”
Harrington said that those who sign up for the class will be provided with an aqua belt and aqua dumbbells. There are some noodles, but participants can also purchase and bring their own to class. She said that class would be “very social” and a great way to meet new people.
“Things have grown so much since I’ve been here. It’s a great small town that’s grown bigger, but kept the ‘home town’ feeling.” Harrington said. “Oxford is a great place to raise a family and it has all the opportunities that larger cities may have. I know Oxford is a town that has a large retirement population, and that’s another reason why I think this will be beneficial. I know a lot of those weekend warriors, those people that are 55-60 and plus who are still very active, playing competitive sports, etc. That population needs a variety of activities, and this is a great way to get outside and to talk to people while we workout and improve your physical ability at the same time. It will be great.”
For those that may be wondering what the difference is between deep water aerobics and shallow water, Harrington said you will have to keep moving in her class.
“Your heart rate is going to be a little higher, which is good for cardiovascular health, and two, your core is engaged the entire time. Your trunk muscles, your abdomen and those that surround your spine, those muscles are working the entire time as you are working your arms and legs,” Harrington said. “This will be good for strengthening everything in the body.”
Harrington said she suggests those that who have had a cardiac background or heart issues or if they are pregnant that they consult their doctor first before beginning this program. She added that the class can be scaled for beginners or advanced participants as well for anyone of any age.
Registration for Harrington’s class is open at oxfordparkcommission.com. The two sessions are June 7 through July 14 and then August 9 through September 15.
Cost for each session is $180.
John Davis, communications director for the Oxford Park Commission