FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Easing into a new fitness routine can be a challenge, especially for individuals with reduced mobility or joint pain, but one group fitness course reduces the pressure by hitting the water.

Aqua Zumba, which debuted at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center on Andrews Avenue in October, blends the fun philosophy of Zumba with water resistance in the pool.

"Since October, the class has grown mostly from the word of mouth," Ryan Clark, aquatics branch assistant manager, said. "Individuals have told me how much they enjoy and love the class. So, every class someone is bringing a friend with them."

Sherri Longoria, military spouse, is one of those enthusiastic participants.

"This class is fantastic," she said. "I burn 500-800 calories every class. Ryan [Clark] is an amazing instructor. I love Aqua Zumba."

Joann McCaffrey, military spouse, joined the class when it was first offered and has seen amazing progress attending the class.

"I started in October, just going to the two classes a week," she said. "My weight is down. My A1C is down three points. My thyroid medication is down.

"I can't do what [Clark] does up there because I have bad knees, but I can do it in the water. I used to synchronize swim, and I've always been attracted to the music and the water."

Clark said success stories inspire him to keep creating fun and exciting routines for future classes.

"It is great to hear when a participant has made a change in health," he said. "It is also amazing to see participants making new friends or overcoming something in their personal life because the class is uplifting and fun."

Aqua Zumba is currently offered Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9-10 a.m.

"With only being two days a week, Aqua Zumba gives you enough cardio and resistance training for your body that it has time to recover," Clark said. "It also allows you to try other fitness classes and personal exercises so that your body can get an overall workout."

According to Clark, water creates natural resistance that makes every step more challenging and helps tone muscles.

"Once the Latin and world rhythms take over, you'll see why Zumba classes are often called exercise in disguise because it makes you move and feel the beats to get you moving your body to get your energy up," he said.

According to Clark, Aqua Zumba is designed for individuals age 14 and older and provides less impact on joints than a traditional Zumba class. Options are also available for individuals hesitant to dip into the pool because they have difficulty swimming or never learned to swim.

"Adult swim lessons are held monthly," Clark said. "Classes are Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. Participants will receive seven to eight sessions in a month. Classes are taught by a certified American Red Cross water safety instructor.

Participants must be age 18 and older to attend. Adult swim lessons are open to active duty military, military spouses, military dependents, contractors and Department of Defense civilians.

Active duty Soldiers receive a 50-percent discount on the cost of swim lessons.

For more information, call 255-2296.