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Alternative workout offers healthy and fun solution

by Senior Airman Robin Drake
Thunderbolt staff writer

photos by Senior Airman Robin Drake

Tech. Sgt. Karen A. Smith and Staff Sgt. Alison R. Villarruel, 6th Air Mobility Wing claims examiners, enjoy the cool water surroundings during their first class on Tuesday. Exercising helps them to maintain their physical fitness level during pregnancy.

Master Sgt. Katherine Munsey, 6th Services Squadron Fitness Center program director, teaches a low-impact exercise to students during her water aerobics class. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to noon at the Base Pool.

For an individual on a medical profile or for a woman who is pregnant, a typical physical training workout may not be suitable and could potentially pose health risks. But one 6th Services Squadron Airman has found a solution to this problem.

Master Sgt. Katherine Munsey, Fitness Center program director and a unit fitness training manager, has created a modified water aerobics class for those individuals that are unable to participate in squadron PT.

"I noticed that there was an abundance of pregnancies and people on profiles in my squadron," said Sergeant Munsey. "People who can not run, perform sit-ups or push-ups, can still do PT though."

Water aerobics is a beneficial workout because there is zero impact on the joints. In the water, the muscles in the body relax reducing the risk of injury.

"The water helps with your coordination and stability by providing a barrier for the body," said Sergeant Munsey. "It also has a soothing and calming effect on the body."

Additional benefits gained from the low impact workout water aerobics include both an increase in metabolism, as well as, muscular strength and tone.

The exercises performed are for a complete body workout. Individuals on a medical profile focus on performing rehabilitative exercises that target specific injured areas.

"We have a variety of exercises for people that have neck, back or leg injuries, said Sergeant Munsey.

Prior to class participation, Sergeant Munsey requests a meeting with each interested individual in order to tailor a workout for their needs.

"You should bring a copy of your medical profile because it has your limitations listed on it," said Sergeant Munsey, "and you should also consult your physician."

Due to the appealing nature of the class, personnel from other agencies around MacDill have taken advantage of what it has to offer.

Tech. Sgt. Karen A. Smith and Staff Sgt. Alison R. Villarruel, 6th Air Mobility Wing claims examiners, are both expectant mothers enrolled in the class.

"I thought that it would be a more appropriate and healthier way to exercise during pregnancy," said Sergeant Smith. "I will be able to continue to stay fit even during pregnancy by exercising in a manner that is healthy for both my baby and me."

Sergeant Villarruel said she enjoys the different atmosphere for her workout and the nice change of pace from the treadmill. Additionally, she hopes the class will help to make the fitness transition easier after she has the baby.

Instruction and equipment are provided to participants and there is no requirement on knowing how to swim.

And for those that have trouble swimming or can't swim, there is no reason for concern.

"People who can't swim can wear the aqua jogger. It is a floatation belt worn for deep water jogging," said Sergeant Munsey.

Sergeant Munsey said the ideal class size is around 10 people but she will do her best to accommodate all those interested.

For more information on the class, contact Sergeant Munsey at 828-4496.



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