Could Swimming Be the Answer to My Exercise Dilemma?

Darla Gay avatar

by Darla Gay |

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exercise dilemma, swimming, aqua therapy

I am not a natural-born exerciser. No one in my family is athletic. There were no evening walks and no one played sports. We didn’t run unless we were being chased. When I was first diagnosed with lupus, my rheumatologist told me I needed to walk half an hour every day. I thought he was crazy. I couldn’t walk from one end of my house to the other without being out of breath.

As it turns out, that was the standard advice I would get from every doctor I saw. But I finally found one who explained it differently. He said that if I was only able to walk for five minutes, then that is where I should start. Stay at five minutes for a couple of weeks and then expand to 10 minutes. This way I could slowly work up to being able to walk for 30 minutes.

The next roadblock I threw up was that there wasn’t a good place to walk near my house. I live on a main highway with no shoulders or breakdown lanes. And the closest side street is almost as dangerous. It’s a cut-off road that’s most often used as a racetrack for people in a big rush.

With lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and a bunch of other chronic diseases, there aren’t a whole lot of choices for me when it comes to exercise. I can’t run, can’t ride a bicycle — I have no athletic abilities at all. Whatever I do needs to be easy on my joints. So that leaves walking and swimming.

We recently attended a birthday party for the youngest grandchild at the local community center and aquatics park. I’ve been there before but mainly just in the meeting rooms. This time, I walked around and checked out the entire place.

Besides the meeting rooms and the outdoor pool that I had already seen, I found an indoor walking track, a regulation size indoor pool, and a therapy pool. The therapy pool is 98 degrees and the water circulates like a giant hot tub. They also offer water aerobics and yoga classes.

Swimming and water aerobics are easy on the joints, so I don’t really have an excuse not to try it. It’s not far from my home, so I can go whenever I want. It’s indoors, so it’s available no matter the season or the weather.

I probably won’t be swimming laps anytime soon. But I think I have finally found something that I want to do and that I’m able to do. It’s pretty rare when those two things come together.


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