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Cardio Couples: Husbands and wives get fit together

By Jodi Hersey

Special to The Weekly

A group of empty-nesters, in and around the Bangor area, have found a fun and exciting new couple’s hobby that gets their hearts racing and their blood pumping like it did when they first said ‘I do.’

These couples, many of them married over 40 years, are all members of the same Bangor YMCA aquatic fitness class where they can be seen working up a sweat several times a week and living out their vows to love each other in sickness and in health.

“When Brian retired, we decided we had to find something we could devote to each other rather than leading a separate life,” explained Jackie Enman of Brewer. “He worked so many hours that I had really developed a totally separate life because he wasn’t home. So this gives us an hour in the mornings together and then time in the evenings together with our grandkids.”

Jackie and Brian Enman, who have been married 43 years, are more than aquatic exercise pals. They’re also each other’s favorite walking companion.

“We do a lot of walking. I’m committed to try and walk five miles a day and on Saturdays we go hiking,” explained Brian Enman.

The Enman’s aren’t alone. They’re often joined by fellow water lovers Carol and Frank Kitchenka of Bangor, Carole Saulnier and her husband Bob Zack of Bangor as well as Beth and Alan Davenport of Glenburn.

“You can’t put a price on the camaraderie and the type of people here,” said Beth Davenport. “Everyone makes everyone else feel welcome. Alan never wanted to try it before he stopped working but once he retired I said, ‘You know there are other men there.’ He started coming.”

For the past two years, Alan has been attending aquatic classes with his wife and he’s enjoyed every minute of it.

“I feel healthier and stronger having done it and it’s really enjoyable socially to exchange quips with friends and acquaintances in the pool,” he said.

These couples are so committed to one another and their health that they’re now able to read their body’s warning signals.

“We both tend to want to get up and move,” explained Alan. “It’s an essential part of the regiment because if you go without doing it for a while your muscles start telling you about it.”

A little friendly rivalry between husband and wife is also a great motivator that keeps these couples moving.

“We both wear Fitbits and that motivates us,” said Jackie.

“We often prod each other and say, ‘Did you get your mileage in today?’ And if not, we go out and get in another walk,” explained Brian.

Living, loving, walking and working out together in the pool is helping these soul mates rev up their cardio like never before and keep their hearts pumping. They hope for many more blissful years to come.

“I think if other couples tried it, there would be more of them because it’s a fun thing to do plus you really get a lot of exercise out of it,” said Jackie.

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