Eddie and Evening Aquatics Class

While on a beach vacation with his wife in 2002, Eddie Griffith suddenly and inexplicably started to lose feeling in his right leg. “It just started to go numb. I would be dragging my right foot. I fell down a lot,” says Griffith of the events that led him to lose both physical sensation and balance at only 49 years old.

While the cause of the numbness was never determined, doctors suspected that a virus had attacked and damaged the nerves in his right leg. “I was really active before all of this,” says the architect, who has designed many local schools and community buildings and is currently on the board of the Alabama Historical Commission. “All of a sudden, I had a hard time walking.”

Eddie had to find a way to adjust to his new disability. Fortunately for him, he found Lakeshore in 2002 and discovered the benefits of aquatics. Griffith says that aquatic exercise has helped him maintain muscle mass, strength and balance, and the vigorous exercise helps him keep up his general health.

Lakeshore offers 13 different types of Aquatics classes over 40 times a week to accommodate individuals with a variety of physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. The classes provide varying degrees of cardiovascular, core strengthening and balance-enhancing exercise from the Range of Motion class, which offers a gentle introduction to strengthening, posture and balance in a shallow, warmer pool, to the more advanced Aqua Cardio class, which includes components in both the shallow and deep ends of the cooler lap pool. To see our full list of Aquatics classes, click here.

But Griffith’s favorite class is Lakeshore’s hour-long Deep Water Sweat evening class, as it is one of the evening offerings that fits best into his work schedule. The class is an ever-changing routine composed of under and above water motions that engage both upper and lower body, simulating exercises that you might do on dry land. “It’s like cross country skiing, running through tires or riding a bike,” according to Griffith.

On some days, they play games to enhance agility and balance using submerged flotation equipment.

“You’d be surprised how hard it is to sit on a kickboard underwater,” Griffith chuckles. Other days they break into games that are specifically designed to increase heart rate and blood flow.”

Participants can choose a flotation device appropriate for their needs, which allows people of all swimming ability levels to reap Deep Water Sweat’s benefits. In fact, Griffith says that many of his classmates are encouraged to learn or relearn how to swim after they start taking this class.

Water resistance is used to build strength, and the low impact workout means that many people experiencing pain find the water provides pain relief and ease of movement that they don’t experience anywhere else in their daily lives. Griffith also vouches for the relaxing post-workout benefits: “Most people say they sleep really well after taking an evening class.”

As for what keeps him coming back week after week?

“The instructors are great. They’re always teaching us new techniques and mixing up different teaching styles. Nobody in class is judgmental. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you wear,” says Griffith of the class that’s become a community of friends for him. Then he laughs, “And if you don’t want to get your hair wet, we know who you are and we’re not going to splash you. Whether you’re missing a limb, lost your eyesight, or even never learned how to swim, you can find a place here.”

Tamarie Howell, the evening aquatics class instructor comments, “I always tell my classes, ‘Never get frustrated, and keep coming. Because the more you come, the better you will be at the exercises. And never compare yourself to others around you. We all had to start somewhere. You will get there. Do not give up.”

Interested in trying one of our aquatics classes? Check out the spring schedule here: