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Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 4:21 p.m.
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Water aerobics

Searcy women splash into fitness

By Angela Spencer

This article was published May 4, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

jane-hogan-right-89-and-lillian-mciver-96-participate-in-water-aerobics-with-searcy-splash

Jane Hogan, right, 89, and Lillian Mciver, 96, participate in water aerobics with Searcy Splash.

Pool time is not just for cannonballs and tanning. For some women in Searcy, it is a regular way to stay in shape and get some energy.

Robbie Burch has been going to Searcy Splash, a women’s water-aerobics class that takes place at Harding University, for a year and a half, and in that time, she has lost 60 pounds.

“I love it. I have arthritis and back problems, and it’s good for all of it,” she said.

Burch had surgery in January 2012 to lose weight. Since then, she has lost 193.5 pounds, and 60 of those came off once she started doing water aerobics.

After her surgery, Burch said, she needed to tone up. One of her friends had a pool that Burch used for a few months; then she found Searcy Splash.

She started with water aerobics in September 2012, and she now works out three to five times a week. She has had two knee replacements — one in September 2013 and the other the following December — and she said the water activities, including aerobics and deep-water jogging, have helped with her recovery.

The water activities are just a part of her weight loss, Burch said, but the exercise has been an important aspect of her recovery and works together with a healthy diet she has been following.

“I’ve had to retrain, rethink everything,” she said. “The great thing here is that everybody is uplifting and positive. They keep me going.”

Part of the draw to the class is instructor Sheron Ward, Burch said.

“She is very good and thorough with what she does,” Burch said.

Ward is a certified water-aerobics instructor and has been teaching the class for three years. The class also provides community, she said, and participants call themselves “the Sisterhood of Searcy Splash.”

“It’s more than just physical exercise,” she said. “It’s emotional support.”

Ward said she has women in a vast age range, from about 34 to 96 years old, who come to work out in the water. The 96-year-old, Lillian Mciver, has told Ward that the reason she can drive herself around and continue to volunteer at the hospital is that she drinks her milk, eats her yogurt and does water aerobics.

There is a diversity of women in the class, including those with knee problems, older women, pregnant women, women with weight issues and others who just want to stay moving.

“You can do things in water that you can’t do out of the water,” Ward said.

Burch has seen the fruits of that statement. She said she used to have trouble walking, but the class has helped build her muscles to the point where that is not an issue anymore.

“It is the best physical activity I have ever done,” she said. “My doctor tried to get me to do this before. This is an exercise I will do for the rest of my life.”

Water-aerobics classes meet daily in the mornings at the pool on Harding University’s campus.

For more information, including class schedules, visit www.harding.edu/swim/adult.html.

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

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