Zumba, Pilates, aqua exercise: Where the classes are

Today, our print alter ego in the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer looks at popular exercises for a demographic that, a new study finds, is particularly challenged to lose weight and stay in shape: women in and about to enter menopause.

The good news: there lots of exercises especially good for women in the 45-and-up range. As the story notes, our experts are particularly high on these four: Zumbawater aerobics/swimming, walking, Pilates.  The better news: It’s not hard to find a class for any of them — and in the case of walking, you don’t even need a class, you can just walk out your front door.

The offerings are too numerous and varied to list. Instead, here’s some basic direction to help you find the right class at a convenient time and location.

Charlotte area

Charlotte YMCA
“We’ve got an insane amount of exercise classes (land and water) between 19 branches,” says Molly Thompson, the Y’s Senior Director for Communications and Public Relations. Thompson said a quick search revealed “well over 100 water fitness classes and more than 60 Active Older Adult group exercise classes offered just this week (Zumba, Chair Aerobics, Yoga, Senior Walking, Balance Training, Stretching, Strength Training, TaiChi and even African Drum and Dance).”
To find a class at one of the Y’s 19 branches, Thompson says to go to the Y Web site and click on “Exercise Class Schedules.”  You can narrow the search by time/day preference and class interest (Active Older Adult (seniors), water fitness, yoga, etc.).

It’s a similar process for most of the following selection of fitness facilities that offer the aforementioned courses.

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Get Going Online, click on “View the latest Get Going Guide” under “Resources” then select category (Aquatics, Adult, Senior.)

UNC Meadowmont Wellness Center
Membership health club in Chapel Hill, offers variety of group and aqua exercises, the latter ranging from Gentle Aqua in a therapy pool to Aqua Fitness, a “high-energy vigorous workout.” Find a rundown of current offerings here.

Raleigh Parks & Rec.
Check out the current Leisure Ledger for group exercises courses offered citywide and aqua exercise at three year-round pools.

Cary Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources
Offers group exercise at three community centers and the Cary Senior Center in Bond Park. Check out the program offerings here.


Greensboro Parks & Recreation
Offers programs citywide. From main Web site, Click on “Leisure Magazine: Spring – Summer,” then click on “Page 22-26.”

Winston-Salem Recreation & Parks
Offers programs at 17 recreation centers. To start, go here.

Photo from jillianhessel.com

10 thoughts on “Zumba, Pilates, aqua exercise: Where the classes are”

  1. I enjoyed “Moving Through Midlife” in today’s Charlotte Observer but am very disappointed you did not include yoga.

    You can have a good work-out in a yoga class (or in your personal practice) but you get much more: stretching and strengthening with awareness and attention to detail (especially breath), stress release, meditation (in some classes).

    Mary Lou
    Kripalu Yoga Teacher

  2. Pingback: Body Workout 101
  3. I read the print article in the Raleigh News & Observer today about the “Popular excercises [that} help women lose weight and get fit in their 40s and 50s”.
    I was stunned to see two large photographs of flabby women in their 60s and 70s in a water class, accompanied by one smaller picture of some younger women in a Zumba class. What impression does this give of (and to) women in their 40s and 50s? That we are gray, curly haired and spectacle wearing, good only for a bit of flapping around in the water once a week? I just turned 50 and me and my friends are running, cycling, weight lifting, doing yoga and looking more like 30 year olds than thinking about menopause. While it is good to promote exercise of any form to anybody, please make sure you have an idea of what the target audience looks like before you start! A 50 year old woman does not look like she might have done 30 years ago!
    p.s. I note the writer is a man.

      1. I would check with either Optimist Park or the Millbrook pools; they seem the best candidates. Find contact info here.

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