In searching for the perfect moniker to attach to her aquatic exercise group aimed at those 50 and older, Sheri Lamoureux ultimately arrived at The Fountain of Youth.
Ambitious? Perhaps. But you'd have a hard time finding anyone taking part in the classes who would argue it's accuracy.
"It's given me a new lease on life," said Jane Winslow, whose arthritis has progressed to the point that she needs a walker to get around for daily activities. "For people who can't run, can't do other exercises, they can do this."
For Winslow, the pool is the only place she can shed the walker and move freely. She said the exercises - which she's taken part in alongside Lamoureux for almost 20 years - keep her limber.
"If I don't come, I stiffen right up," Winslow said. "It just gives me freedom. I can't say enough about Sheri."
The Insider was already feeling a little sore from having carried the weight of entertaining an entire city for yet another week, and following that ringing endorsement we couldn't help but dive into the deep end with Lamoureux to loosen up the old story-telling muscles.
It turns out Lamoureux has been teaching aquatic exercises to people over 50 for more than 17 years, including stints at a center for sports medicine and the now-defunct senior center. The current iteration became official six years ago after moving to the Holiday Inn downtown.
And it's there that Lamoureux hosts classes four days a week, with one session running from 1-1:45 p.m. and the other right on its heels from 1:45-2:30 p.m.
"It's very exciting to see them standing more upright, or to see someone who used to walk in with a cane that doesn't need a cane anymore," Lamoureux said. "A lot of people think in a pool you just go in and splash around. But this is about making their muscles stronger in an environment that's safe for them. We are extending their life by keeping them exercising."
The majority of the participants suffer from arthritis or some form of chronic joint pain, Lamoureux said, and the water provides an environment without resistance, allowing for more comfortable exercise.
Activities begin with basic stretching and movement but also include tenets of yoga and pilates to help improve balance, and participants are encouraged to listen to their bodies and do only what feels right for them.
"Everybody can work at their own pace. It's very individual, and it's total body - head to toe, all the way out to your fingertips," Lamoureux said. "It's amazing to see the poses they can do. They find a lot more success in the water, where other exercise programs (have fallen short)."
Mary Lee Sargent has been taking part for almost three years, and has seen dramatic improvement in terms of flexibility and overall vigor.
"When I don't come, I miss it. I don't feel as full of spunk and spirit," Sargent said. "It gives me a renewed energy, and that's what I miss when I go away. It's very energizing."
Lamoureux has spent most of her life working in water - "I think I have chlorine in my veins at this point," she joked - and has seen the benefits of aquatic exercise on those with joint problems. That's why she searched frantically for a new location when the senior center shut down, fearing that the loss of the program would crush many of her faithful attendees.
She credits the Holiday Inn for helping to save the group, offering the pool area for rent. The inn also keeps the temperature of the pool around 88 degrees, perfect for those with arthritis who may be prone to stiffening in colder surroundings.
"I couldn't be happier. I really felt like they were my only hope," Lamoureux said of the inn. "I found this, and it's been ideal."
Once she established a location, she needed a name. It took careful consideration, but Lamoureux arrived at The Fountain of Youth AquaXercise Group, saying she intentionally eschewed anything with the word "senior" in the title in hopes of promoting a positive and refreshing vibe.
It's a vibe she can feel herself. Though she's often decades younger than many of her students, the physical benefits they receive are just as advantageous for her.
"I want to see them happy," Lamoureux said. "I look so forward to coming to my job every day. I just love to work with them. It gives me energy."