Shedding our work costumes

I‘ve crewed with the Des Moines Rowing Club for six years. I started with an eight-person team in sweep rowing, in which everyone has one oar that you sweep across the water. Now I’m mostly sculling on one-, two- or four-person teams in which you have two oars. It’s something I always wanted to do, because I love being on the water. Plus it’s very social. We all show up at the river in our rowing clothes and caps. Then later you find out you were rowing with a judge or a surgeon. It’s a great equalizer – everybody is sweaty and we aren’t in our work costumes. That’s one of the really great things about it.

It’s the same in yoga. We have yoga class participants in their 20s and 60s and everyone in between, and a lot of lawyers for some reason.

My most recent fun activity is stand-up paddleboard. Basically, you stand on your board, use a paddle for balance and do exercises.

You can do a lot of yoga poses while really challenging your core. It’s growing in popularity, but it’s still a novelty. I get a lot of looks from people when I’m on the paddleboard.

My social circles outside DMU have evolved with these groups and activities. It’s really expanded the people I know in Des Moines. I’ve met people I otherwise wouldn’t have met.

Ann York, Ph.D., associate professor in DMU’s College of Health Sciences, has taught exercise classes for the past 30 years and earned her yoga certification two years ago. She’s one of the organizers of the Head of the Des Moines Regatta, an annual competition now in its 29th consecutive year, that attracts rowing masters, juniors and novices from across the country.

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