Aquatic Exercise Options

From Meg Grant
You see a lot of things you’ve never seen before on the exhibit floor of the annual AARP member event. Add to the list, this year, the sight of a man in a wetsuit pedaling an exercise bike in a pool full of water.
To add to the weirdness, the man in question is Wayne Player, the son of famed South African golfer Gary Player.
So here’s the story: Player was demonstrating a line of exercise equipment designed specifically for use in water. Developed in Italy and imported by Michael Factor of Jupiter, Fla., the Aquatics USA line includes an exercise bike, a treadmill and a pilates/circuit training bar. “Boomers want to stay healthier now more than ever before,” said Factor. “But many of us have knee and back problems, so aquatics have become very popular lately.” And because water holds 80 percent of your body weight, you can exercise more vigorously underwater while at the same time protecting against joint stress. The result, says Factor? A 20-minute session on his company’s submerged treadmill is the equivalent of 60 minutes of walking on land.
“It’s great for those who want to exercise but don’t have the ability” to do so on land for one reason or another, Factor said of his company’s equipment — which is designed not to rust and can be submerged in just four feet of water. It’s water exercise that, he says, “takes the monotony out of swimming laps.” And for the vain among us, the equipment allows you to exercise in the water without getting your hair wet.
The gear isn’t cheap–$1950 for the treadmill, $2,250 for the bike, and $2,900 for the circuit bars. But Wayne Player, who damaged his knees after years on the golf course and running track, says the benefits are worth the cost.