Pedal power at MACPool

Enjoying the aqua cycling class: Maggie Dodd and Karen McCurry from Multiple Sclerosis Centre Argyll (front row) with Hazel Whiston and Rebecca Helliwell.

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It was with trepidation I arrived at Mid Argyll Community Pool (MACPool) ahead of the aqua bike try-out session [writes Rachel Carruthers].

Exercise classes and I don’t often seem like a natural fit but I was excited to give the new craze a go.

Aqua cycling uses stationary bikes immersed in a swimming pool, with water up to participants’ waists, making it a non-weight bearing exercise.

Aqua bikes can be used at all abilities and are often used in high intensity classes, giving a vigorous cardiovascular workout in a low impact environment – an ideal way to reduce obesity and prevent ill health.

Stationary cycling and water-based exercises are also frequently recommended for patients suffering with osteoarthritis or recovering from knee and hip surgery or injury, therefore combining both is an obvious step.

MACPool successfully applied for funding through the Argyll and Bute HSCP Self Management Fund to run the All Ability Cycling Project in partnership with Cycling UK and the Ardrishaig Bothy. As part of this project the fund provided MACPool with seven aqua cycles and training from Hydrorider.

Arriving early to take photogaphs of the others giving these bikes a go, any sense of nervousness was set aside as I watched healthcare professionals and fitness and well-being enthusiasts laugh and chat through their shot.

After some quick adjustments to the bikes June, from our advertising department, and I were raring to go.

Partially submerged, the feeling of being weightless combined with the resistance of the water as we began peddling was initially a bit odd. As we got used to the feeling, we started to speed things up, pretending we were racing the rest of our group to The Cairnbaan for a gin and tonic.

Finding our rhythm, instructor Kathryn Craig began to lead us through arm exercises. Our co-ordination was put to the test as we carried on cycling while doing simple arm movements that felt more impactive due to the water resistance. Then for the real challenge – floating off the back of the bike while continuing to pedal – not an easy task if you are short-legged but a workout that feels like it is doing you the power of good.

For me aqua cycling is everything I hoped it would be – a fun, impactive (without feeling it) and enjoyable way of exercising. And I could still walk after it!

With no aches and pains the next day and still smiling, I signed up for some of the classes.

Classes vary in intensity and are currently running on Tuesdays from 1.15-1.45pm, Wednesday evenings from 6.45-7.15pm and Saturdays from  9.45-10.15am. For more information or to book call MACPool on 01546 606676.