Focus on Maple Grove: Gliding Toward Fitness

Splash in Maple Grove waters year round.
This winning photo inspired a story about fitness.

The first and only time Chris Spah paddleboarded on Fish Lake was a one-of-a-kind experience. Venturing onto the lake at dusk, Spah paddled alongside a group of 15 people on a tour put on by the Three Rivers Park District. This particular session, part of a series the park district calls Stand-up Paddle Board Under a Full Moon, was special because Spah’s tour was held under the glow of the blue moon last July. Lucky for us, Spah captured a moment from this event with his photograph, “Paddleboarding, Fish Lake,” which garnered third place in the Activities & Events category of our 2015 Focus on Maple Grove photo contest.

Spah, a graphic designer by trade, takes photographs for work and for pleasure. He brought his GoPro camera along on the nighttime adventure in Maple Grove last summer. “It was a very unique experience,” Spah says. The two-hour tour began around 8 p.m. Participants were outfitted with paddleboard equipment, life vests and glowsticks to wear around their necks. As the sun dipped, the blue moon rose from the horizon. 

Like a lot of night sky phenomena, the blue moon is often better seen in person than on camera. This is true of Spah’s paddleboarding experience. Of the many pictures Spah captured throughout the night, the photos that recorded the atmosphere best were taken at twilight when the sun was still exposed. “This one just captured a handful of people and the gorgeous colors of the sky,” Spah says of his photograph. 

This was Spah’s first experience paddleboarding in the Twin Cities, but he is no stranger to the sport on other lakes; he enjoys paddleboarding at his cabin. Spah likes the sport because it’s a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the water. There’s also the added benefit of exercise. “It takes a surprising amount of upper body work and core,” Spah says. “You are constantly balancing. It’s a workout you don’t even realize you are doing until you get off the lake and you are sore later.”

Paddleboarding provides an excellent workout, but the season in Minnesota is short. Swimming, on the other hand, is a lifelong sport that can be done all year long if transitioned indoors. If you are a water sport enthusiast looking to continue your full-body workout this fall and winter, read on to learn about the indoor swimming opportunities in town.

The Maple Grove Community Center has a variety of opportunities for youths, adults and seniors to swim throughout the season. The indoor pool at the Grove Cove Aquatic Center will be shut down for a brief intermission this month (September 6–18), but the full seasonal class schedule resumes September 19 when the indoor pool reopens. Fall and winter classes run September through December. 

There’s open swim time daily at the 25-yard lap lane pool. Or, if you seek more structure, the community center offers a variety of swimming lessons: Daytime lessons are offered Monday–Wednesday between 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Afternoon lessons are offered Monday–Thursday between 3:30–6:30 p.m., and evening lessons run between 6:45–9 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays. There are also Saturday lessons offered between 8 a.m.–12 p.m. 

The Community Center also offers several variations of water aerobics. Evening aerobics are suited for working adults and held in the lap pool Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:15–8 p.m. There are other daytime aerobic classes (held mornings and early afternoons), geared toward seniors. You’ll also find specialty classes like the aerobics class designed specifically for seniors with arthritis, held in the leisure pool because of the need for warm water. And, for teens at least 15 years of age, the community center offers a lifeguard training course this fall. 

To find more swimming opportunities around town, visit Lifetime Fitness or Foss Swim School for an assortment of lessons for all ages.