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Aqua cycling: A new underwater workout

A new type of spin class, called aqua cycling, is making waves on the New York City fitness scene.

“Aqua cycling is very similar to an indoor cycling class, but it happens in the pool,” Esther Gauthier, owner of Aqua, an aqua cycling studio in New York City, said. “So you have 4 feet of water, and you're pedaling against the water resistance.”

The underwater cycling trend first emerged in Italy, where it was started by a physical therapist.

“At first it was really focused on rehabilitation, so the physical therapist was treating knee injuries for athletes,” Gauthier  said. “And because there (are) so many benefits related to exercising in the water, it really spread out.”

Instructor Emma Galland says that people often think the class will be easy, because the bikes are submerged in water. But in reality, participants get a full body workout.

“As soon as you get in the water, since there is no inertia, you really have to do the pedal stroke from the beginning (to) the end... you have to get very, very strong core engagement.  The back (and) the core must stabilize,” Galland said. “...You really have to use your brain, and connect the mind with the body to get a smooth pedal stroke… It's challenging.”

Betty Parsons, a 53-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, said the class is helping her slowly get back into exercising after suffering a back injury.

“You feel absolutely no pain, (it’s the) best ride ever,” Parsons said. “I feel stronger; I feel rejuvenated; I feel alive, like I can go on another 10 hours.”

The class, which utilizes special waterproof bikes, is 45 minutes long, and the studio provides special rubber shoes for participants to wear.

For more information, visit aquastudiony.com.