News Flash

City of Plano Parks and Recreation

Posted on: April 6, 2018

Aquatic fitness at Plano’s Rec centers provides fun path to holistic health


Plano resident Woody Lusk was burnt out on the gym scene when he heard about the new Aquatic Boot Camp (ABC) being offered at Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center. Although he had never taken an aquatics class, the avid scuba diver decided to give it a try.

Two years later, and he and several others who started the class together are still there for the camaraderie and, most of all, the results.

“When I saw this program, I thought, ‘this may be what I’m looking for.’ Turned out it exceeded my expectations. It is one of the best cardio and fitness workouts I’ve done,” Woody said.

Woody has lost more than 50 pounds thanks to the ABC class and says he is in the best shape of his life. One thing he likes about the class is that each session is different thanks to the circuit training format. From racing on noodles to kick boarding down the lap lanes, he and his newfound friends easily swim more than 1,000 yards in just one class.

“This class has helped improve our swimming techniques and we’re always learning. Every day is like an adventure,” Woody said.

Aquatic Boot Camp is just one of many fitness classes offered throughout the year at each of Plano’s recreation centers. Water aerobics classes offer many benefits for older adults, such as:

  1. Increased strength, lung capacity and circulation
  2. Improved coordination, balance, sleep patterns
  3. Improved heart health
  4. Improved flexibility/range of motion
  5. Improved mental health
  6. Decrease in body fat, joint soreness, chronic stress, anxiety, posture problems, and blood pressure

Plano Parks and Recreation offers various aquatic offerings in addition to its learn to swim classes. These include water Pilates, arthritis aerobics, resistance training, and traditional deep and shallow aerobics classes. These classes are led by quality instructors who take the time to get to know their participants’ ability levels and help modify movements so all fitness levels can work out safely.

“One of the best parts about the classes we offer is that everyone was a beginner once and they welcome new people with open arms,” said Kelly Kessler, Aquatics Supervisor at Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center. “The participants want to be healthy and encourage their friends to come try different classes. I think that’s how we keep growing and it’s great.”

Oak Point Recreation Center’s deep-water classes are typically the most popular among its patrons, according to Aquatic Coordinator Anne Hensarling. Those who have never taken a water aerobics course can attend on a drop-in basis without having to pay for the full four- to five-week session.

“Once they try [our aquatic classes], they will be able to see the benefits and how enjoyable exercise can be,” Anne said. “We try to also offer classes during times of the day that will be convenient to the patrons, and we give the highest customer service possible every day at our rec centers. We’re confident that even the most intimidated visitor will leave having a fun and fulfilling experience.”

As for the aquatic boot camp at Muehlenbeck, participant Julie Jackson said she has become more aware of the need to stay physically active in all stages of life, and added that swimming is great exercise at any age. Having friends who share an interest in physical fitness is a great way to combine physical and mental health at one time, she said.

“When we tell people how much fun we have [in ABC] and how good swimming is for us, most are excited to hear more about it,” Julie said. “Almost all students have joined because of word of mouth or from watching us in the pool! The class speaks loudly for itself as people see our improvement and see how much fun we have!”

Want to learn more? Visit for more information about our aquatics classes.