For decades, my favorite way of keeping my mind and body fit has been limited to yoga and meditation classes. But looking at Aqua Studio’s website and reading about the many benefits of aqua cycling, an underwater cycling class piqued my curiosity. A Manhattan native, I have never found the idea of bicycling in the city and dodging cars, buses and people appealing. Cycling in the water seemed like the most soothing way to get in a cardio workout, without risking life and limb.
I booked a Saturday morning Weekend Challenge class, a one-hour interval class designed to improve aerobic and anaerobic capacity, tone the body and increase endurance. All I needed to bring was a bathing suit; the studio has water shoes available for rent and provides one large towel. Not having been on a bicycle for years, I felt a bit nervous when I arrived at the cozy tri-level studio in Tribeca.
Anne Koller, my instructor, took me under her wing immediately, put me at ease and showed me the ropes. She explained that the bicycles have three resistance levels: 1, 2 and 3. (Level 1 is for cyclists who are injured or recovering from surgery; level 2 is for Restorative, Interval and Weekend Challenge classes; and level 3 is for Power, Men’s, and Boost classes. Boost is a new, high-intensity, advanced class.) The real resistance is up to the cyclist; the faster you pedal, the higher and harder the resistance is.
Photo by Marilou Daubé
Anne is fun-loving, energetic and in amazing shape, and her enthusiasm for aqua cycling is contagious. With a maximum of 15 cyclists in the warm salt-water pool, she watched everyone closely and kept us all motivated. By the middle of the class, most of us were singing along to the taped pop music she played. The pool area is dimly lit with candles, so you feel relaxed even as you are getting a complete body workout. The class ended with a wind-down period, in which Anne incorporated some gentle yoga moves.
While I consider myself fairly flexible, I realized during class that I couldn’t remember the last time I had worked my quadriceps muscles for an hour without interruption. I was curious if I would feel any muscle aches the next day. But just as the studio’s website said, after class I felt energized and I woke up the next morning with no muscle soreness. Aqua cycling is very popular in Europe, and Aqua Studio is the first NYC cycling studio to offer classes in a pool. If you are lucky enough to live in the NYC area, Aqua Studio provides a safe, fun way to boost your fitness level.
For more information, visit http://www.aquastudiony.com
Aqua Studio NY
78 Franklin Street
NYC, NY 10013