Water aerobics teacher’s joyful spirit is contagious

Pictured is Vickie Bateman in the pool with a pair of water aerobics weights.

Vickie Bateman inspires enthusiasm for life. This mother of two and grandmother of four teaches water aerobics at Fitness First.

Bateman is from Mississippi, but has lived in Fort Payne for 35 years.

“This is home,” Bateman said. “I love it here.” Her husband’s employment with the banking industry is what brought the couple to Fort Payne.

Eight years ago, Bateman started to take water aerobics at Fitness First. She has arthritis and quickly recognized that this activity in water allowed her to exercise without pain. Within a short time, she began to study what was necessary to become an instructor.

“I wanted to take the plunge, as they say,” Bateman said. Taking on the role of teaching was nothing new to her as she had worked as a substitute school teacher for many years while her children were growing up.

“The test is an all-day event,” she said. “You have to know every muscle and what movements are necessary to develop that muscle.” It is a physical test; [you have to be] able to demonstrate to the instructor your abilities.”

Bateman is certified to teach aerobics both in the water and out, but prefers the outdoors.

While teaching, she yells out comments like, “You can do this,” and hoots, hollers and squeals sounds of delight during the class. This puts smiles on the faces of her students who find themselves inspired to push a little harder to keep up with her.

“I love what I do and want to see others have fun while they exercise,” Bateman said.

Bateman is an outdoor enthusiast who loves photography and camping by natural bodies of water. She also loves her church family. In the last two years, she says her church family has gotten her through the roughest time in her life. In December of 2017 her husband, Scott, who was age 59, suddenly died of a heart attack. Scott was the president of the Regions Bank in Fort Payne and he had been a banker for 35 years.

Many people in the community speak highly of Scott, especially Vickie. This change in lifestyle could have left her introverted, but instead she radiates a joyful spirit.

“When your mate passes, you are left with the sole responsibility of absolutely everything,” Bateman said. “Although we realistically already know this, it still comes as a shock after many years of having a partner. The reality of caring for a home, finances, the yard, suddenly all falls on one person instead of two.”

Despite the challenging changes she has had to endure, she continues on inspiring herself and others to lead a joyful life.

Vickie’s Motto: “I took the plunge and encourage others to do the same.”

— Marla Ballard’s Who’s Who appears each Tuesday.

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