Working out while staying nice and chilly

Winfield Recreation instructor Amanda Porter and her instructees get physical in her class “Take It To The Deep” at the Winfield Aquatic Center.

Brrrrrr! Some mighty brave students endured the chilly water at the Winfield Aquatic Center recently. At first, they and their instructor, Amanda Porter, shivered in the deep end of the pool.

However, it did not take long for all to get accustomed to the cold blue by doing a cardio-conditioning workout during Porter's summer class known as "Take It To The Deep."

In the beginning, only a few showed up for this class that day, but eventually more came, and Porter had the privilege of working with a total of 12 enthusiastic students. 

For 18 years Porter has taught aquatics through the Winfield Recreation Commission. In her case, water is something she just can't live without.

"Since I have always had joint problems, the water has been vital to my ability to stay limber," she said. "Working out low-impact in the water also is a great calorie burn. Since there is pressure on your body from the water, you work even as you breathe."

In "Take It To The Deep," students are not required to have swimming skills. The workout is similar to aerobics except it is done in the water.Those interested in enrolling in "Take It To The Deep" can come to the aquatic center from 6:15-6:55 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through July 3. Or, if they prefer to take part in a later session, that would be from 6:15-6:55 p.m. Monday and Wednesday from July 8-Aug. 7. The fee is $22 per person.  

Porter is also involved with another class called "Aqua Strength & Stretch." It is designed to work the body's core. The workout goals are likened to a yoga or Tai Chi class. This class is in two sessions as well. The first session is from 7-7:40 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through July 3.The second session meets at the same time and days from July 8 to Aug. 7. Both sessions are held at the Winfield Aquatic Center. Cost is $22 per person.

More information regarding these and other classes may be obtained from the WRC staff at (620)-221-2160. 

Many people especially like being in the water during summer. Porter said that she understands why individuals think of the idea of 'healing themselves' through water therapy.

"I have several clients who are very committed to our workout regimen because of the health benefits of water exercise," she said. "I benefited from swimming at the pool when I was a kid. For myself, I believe I would not be able to walk as well if it weren't for the water. When the rec center goes on break for a month, I become incredibly sore and stiff."

Through her years of teaching, this instructor has learned a great deal about herself and her clients.

"I've learned how important it is for an individual to have a physical activity that not only works the body, but allows the mind to focus," said Porter, who also teaches English, theatre and mythology at Winfield High School through USD 465. "I hope my clients are physically able to go about every day tasks with comfort."

It is quite common for some people, no matter their ages, to develop a dread of water. Porter said that she has dealt with several clients who do not venture into the deep. Surprising to most people, she, too, can identify with this sense of fear that haunts a person.

"I almost drowned when I was in high school," she said. "So I never enjoyed putting my head under water after that experience. When I was in college, my doctor recommended swimming to maintain flexibility in my hips and knees. Luckily, William Newton Hospital was offering aquacise classes at the Southwestern College pool, and I didn't have to fully immerse myself."

This summer lots of people will flock to the beach or celebrate an ocean vacation. It is important to know some basic survival tips should they find themselves stranded in the ocean until rescued.

According to information found on, there are several things people can do if they are stranded in the ocean.

1. Stop and think. Use the Boy Scouts slogan "STOP," which translated, means "stop, think, observe and plan." As difficult as it might be, don't panic.

2. Stay afloat. Find any floating items that give you support. Anything from a raft to driftwood would be better than expending energy from paddling.

3. If the water is calm, lie on your back. Keep your head  above the water line. Continue to do so until rescued or you come within swimming distance of land.

4. If the water is rough, lie face down in the water, allowing your body to float. Continue to float this way until you need air. Lift your head from the water to take a breath, then bring your head back down again, exhaling under water.

Usually a person can't survive longer than three or four days without suitable drinking water. On the Survive Nature website, it states that as awful as it sounds, survivors have relied on "recycled water" or urine as a last resort to replenishing the body. However, the U.S. Army Field Manual advises against this because the salts in the urine will worsen dehydration.

So, what else can you do in this situation? If possible, collect rain water in bottles, or consume fish liquids that provide a source of food. They also provide liquid from their flesh, eyes and spine. Authorities suggest to "cut open the fish, break the vertebra and suck." It may seem like an uninviting snack or a cruel act to the fish, but it's the fish that can save your life.

Keep in mind that salt water should be off limits as advised on the Survive Nature website. Swallowing or drinking too much salt water could result in kidney failure.

Above all else, beware of predators, especially sharks. People aren't usually on a shark's menu in that many species don't purposely hunt humans for food, though there have been a lot of recent shark attacks. To a shark, "we" might look like a seal diving or swimming or a tempting treat when on our surfboards. Other ocean dwellers to try and avoid are certain species of jellyfish. But with sharks, try not to cut yourself. Sharks are what many people refer to as "blood thirsty."  

One person, Dr. Alain Bombard, French biologist and physician, proved that it was possible for him and perhaps others to survive on minimal provisions, such as plankton, raw fish and salt water when he drifted across the Atlantic for 65 days in 1952. However, it is not known how much salt water he ingested. Bombard wrote and had published a book about his adventures titled "The Bombard Story." It has been reprinted several times.

It is amazing how strong the human will and body can be in such unpredictable, extremely difficult and harrowing situations.

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