I used to be a competitive swimmer, I swam everyday and I just loved swimming. In college, after a drunken weekend at a football game, I broke my wrist (being young & dumb) and my swimming days were over. Fast-forward to yesterday, Monday, September 17, Diane brought up that she was going to go to the pool to do some exercising.
I don’t know what happened inside of me, but I decided I had to go, so I immediately asked if I could go with her. I think it stems from bad news that I recently received from the neurologist – they told me that I really need to start exercising and I am deathly afraid that if I don’t start exercising again I will end up in a wheelchair. So, Diane and I decided that we would leave at 10:00. I got my old swim gear together and off to the pool we went.
We got to the pool and it was like returning to an old friends house. Diane wanted to do some exercises, and I knew exactly where to start. We decided that every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10:00 would be our new exercise time. Then, we continued to enter the pool and do our exercises. Most movement exercises are beneficial for people with Multiple Sclerosis. I wanted to work on the following issues that I have been having:
- Lack of Coordination
I found a wonderful source online from the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation called, Aquatic Exercise Programming for People with Multiple Sclerosis. On page 8 they start listing exercises that are great for EVERYONE – not just for people with MS, my favorite exercise is called, Marching/Alternating Knee Lifts. It sounds super simple, but this exercise kicks your butt and works out your butt!!
MARCHING/ALTERNATING KNEE LIFTS
• If individual experiences paralysis in one leg, s/he can actively assist with one hand to lift their knee up
• While in chest deep (nipple line) water level, march (alternating knee lifts) traveling forward using arms in opposition of knees
• Knees come up to create an 80–90 degree angle in the hips
• If individual can weight bear and can bend both knees, start by facing wall and bend knees while holding onto wall with both hands as if sitting back into a chair (squats).
• Hands are in a fist, webbed, claw or sliced position
• If unable to weight bear, start seated utilizing pool steps or grounded pool equipment, horizontally suspended on a floatation mat or suspended vertically with a floatation belt. Bend or soften knees one at a time, alternating from left to right or vice versa.
• Foot placement focus is on heels
• Body alignment is in neutral or slightly forward flexed at the hip (maintaining head and shoulders in alignment, no more than 10 degrees forward flexion at the hips and abdominals are contracted to support lower back)
• If unable to bend knees voluntarily, try to actively assist legs by placing hands behind thighs to bend and lift knees.
• Start with feet firmly planted and weight evenly distributed in chest deep (nipple line) water level, use pool wall for support and lift one knee up at a time, returning to starting position and repeating on other side
After our hour long workout Diane and I dried off and relaxed next to the pool. A few people even complimented us on our workout, so, Diane told them that I was her personal trainer! We had the best time – she was helping me, and I was helping her. It was a win/win situation and I couldn’t be happier to be back in the pool. How do you keep active? Are there any aquatic exercises that you recommend for us to try? Share below! Keep the conversation going!
That’s it for now
~ Kristen ~