These men are bucking a trend. Women are six times more likely than men to join group exercise classes, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. This water aerobics class at the west Omaha gym is made up entirely of men.
They’ve discovered for themselves what fitness experts already know: Low-impact water-based exercise improves cardiovascular health, muscular strength and flexibility.
The class took hold about three years ago when the gym’s aquatics director, Dayle Nervig, approached instructor John Georgeson about teaching it. She wanted to quash the misconception that water-based exercise is something for women.
“We thought if we gave (men) their own space, they might come,” Nervig said. “They’re more comfortable working out with the guys.”
Georgeson, a former football coach, agreed to lead the class, and a small group of men who normally congregated just outside the pool area for coffee made their way into the water.
Now there are about a dozen regulars in his class, most nearing retirement or already retired, like the 70-year-old Georgeson himself.