I was put off spinning classes years ago – too much sweat. I can handle my own, but not fellow spinners splattering me with theirs. As for water aerobics, it’s something I imagine I’ll enjoy more when I reach a certain age — burning off the daytime telly snacks with other grannies.
Aqua cycling is a different proposition though. It’s been trendy in France, Italy and the US for almost a decade. Why it took so long for it to come to the UK is a mystery, but now French entrepreneur Dorine Denjean has brought it to London.
The concept of Denjean’s AquAllure? The 45-minute spin class in the water involves a mix of exercises, from stretching and weightlifting to short but intense spells of acceleration. The bikes have been specifically designed by Poolbiking for use underwater, and are light but sturdy enough to stay in place, even when cycling at full speed. The weights are plastic, extremely light and only feel heavy when moved in the water, thanks to the resistance. And you cycle barefoot.
My initiation took place at Dolphin Square Fitness Club in Pimlico, the type of club where the bathrobes and towels provided are so thick and soft you feel like you’re in a five-star star hotel. The pool is equally fancy, with high art deco-style ceilings, purple and blue lights, and reclining chairs. The classes can only take up to 10 participants, which is a good size, and as the dance music blasts out, the dynamic instructor makes sure the pace is reasonable but challenging for all involved.
As cardiovascular workouts go, this is a brilliant one as it helps increase blood circulation, cellulite reduction and general endurance — it’s demanding without being overly exhausting. “Keep pushing,” shouted the instructor at regular intervals, especially after the series of 10 seconds of speedy spinning. For 45 minutes I didn’t stop cycling once, reminding myself to use my heels to optimally stretch my muscles. And for someone who gets bored very quickly at the gym I didn’t notice the time passing. I didn’t even mind when the person next to me splashed from time to time as we were all having too much fun.
AquAllure classes from £20. www.aquallure.co.uk
Published on National Geographic Traveller – The Collection.