Why Do You Need Continuing Education?

 

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I attended the International Aquatic Fitness Conference recently where I earned 26 continuing education credits. That’s a lot of time spent in swimming pools and lectures! I’m a huge believer in continuing education. When I first started teaching water fitness I had one great lesson plan. Without continuing education I might still be stuck with that one lesson plan. Continuing education is invaluable for giving you new ideas to keep your classes fresh.

All presenters have their own unique styles. Some of my favorite presenters are pictured here. Ruth Sova is the founder of the Aquatic Exercise Association. After she got AEA going, she left to start the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI). Performing Ai Chi with Ruth and Jun Konno, who invented Ai Chi, first thing in the morning was one of the pleasures of the conference. Mark Grevelding is known for his choreography, which has evolved over the years as he is now working mostly with seniors. The international presenters, such as Elson dos Santos have unique high energy techniques. Terri Mitchell had a workshop on stretching which filled up as soon as conference registration opened, so I was not able to get in. Lucky for me, she is coming to this area for a MAAP event in September. I love hearing about the latest research in fitness, so I always sign up for a lecture by Len Kravitz when I attend a conference. He is an author, educator working with graduate students, researcher and exercise scientist at the University of New Mexico. When you attend continuing education you come away with new choreography, new teaching techniques, and new research which makes you a better instructor.

You can also learn about new kinds of equipment that is available for water fitness. Lynda Huey used Aqualogix bells and fins in her class on post rehab fitness. The bells offered excellent drag resistance. The fins were surprisingly easy to put on and use. You might also learn new ways to use old pieces of equipment. Marietta Mehanni used kickboards in a totally new and creative way in her session.

AquapoleOne piece of equipment that I was curious about is the AquaPole. It has a heavy base that anchors the pole in the water. We used the pole to perform suspended exercises in Brown and Johnson’s AquaPole Strength and Toning class, but you can also attach resistance bands or a boxing bag to it. I may never have the opportunity to use the equipment again, but it was fun to try it out.

Networking is another reason to attend continuing education. At IAFC we got to meet people from all over the world, not only the presenters, but also the delegates. The first question we always asked each other was “what is your name” and the second one was “where are you from.” At the end of each class, all the participants gathered at the edge of the pool for a photo with the presenter.

IAFC had a Marketplace where you could buy music, equipment, swim suits, T-shirts, shampoo for getting the chlorine out of your hair and lots of other things. I got to meet the person who invented the Aqua-Ohm, a piece of drag equipment we recently got at Oak Point Recreation Center where I teach classes. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Ruth Sova had a copy of my book, Water Fitness Progressions, at the ATRI booth. She said it was an excellent book, which is high praise indeed, coming from her!

It is my hope that fitness instructors will take advantage of opportunities to get continuing education. Dallas Mania is coming to the Fairmont Hotel in August, and MAAP is hosting Terri Mitchell in September. For more information on these events, check out the MAAP website at www.maapdfw.com

See you in the pool!

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Chris Alexander

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