Posts tagged ‘swimming’

March 27, 2019

#566 – Live Better with RA – Tip #3

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Tip #3 – Move/Exercise

The last thing you may feel like doing is moving, when even talking hurts. The adage “move it or lose it” applies, especially when you have RA. If you’re concerned that you are doing more damage, consult a physiotherapist for appropriate exercises for RA.

In addition to keeping you mobile, strong and flexible, the right amount of exercise can help kick inflammation to the curb. I always notice a huge improvement in mobility, particularly after my swim.

UC San Diego Health has this to say about exercise as an anti-inflammatory:

The brain and sympathetic nervous system — a pathway that serves to accelerate heart rate and raise blood pressure, among other things — are activated during exercise to enable the body to carry out work. Hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, are released into the blood stream and trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells possess.

This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF — a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses.

Speaking of moving and exercising, I’d like to share what Rick, my online acquaintance, has accomplished. His go-to exercise is cycling, which combined with healthy eating (see Tip #2), has allowed him to become, in his own words “a big loser.” Way to go, Rick!

A big round of applause to all of us who are losers, and to some of us who have been on the weight-loss/weight-gain teeter-totter and have finally settled into a good place/weight.

In case you are in the midst of a major flare, I’m swimming two extra lengths just for you! (It’s my new thing. Consider it an energetic gift for someone who is unable to move/exercise. 🙂 Whether I’m stretching, lifting weights, swimming or dog walking, I’m finishing my “usual” routine by doing two more – be it lengths, blocks, lifts, reps, minutes or holds.)

Can you guess what Tip #4 will be?

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January 17, 2019

#562 – An Exercise Tip for Lazy Bones

 

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I make sure I get some form of exercise on a daily basis. I sleep better, but the big pay-off is that I feel better.

Having Holly helps, as dogs need to be walked in rain, hail, sleet or sun. However, there are days when I feel like a lazy bones. Marianna’s Law as Applied to Exercise usually gets me to the pool. As incentive, I agree to do half my swim. Invariably, I end up doing the full workout, since I’m already in the water.

If I’m feeling lazy I recall all the times in the past when everything hurt to move. When I was in excruciating pain before my hip replacements. How my feet felt before forefoot reconstructive surgery (Warning! Graphic image on that page!) When I even needed help pulling the blankets up at night. Yes, I think about that. Then, I reflect upon how grateful I am that I can go for a Holly dog walk, or enjoy a refreshing swim.

Listening to my body means that unless I am in agony or are in dire need of rest, I give my lazy bones a wake-up shake and make sure I do something physical, even if it’s only to get up and dance around the living room. Dancing just isn’t Holly’s thing.  Her predecessor, Murphy, would often join me whenever I said, “Murphy, dance!”

Mobility – please don’t take it for granted! The best way I know to honour my mobility, is to move. Plus, it’s a great way to build in the practice of gratitude, which has enormous health benefits.

This also goes for all you able-bodied people who prefer the couch. If you can move easily, do so! Do it for those who cannot.

Move it, don’t lose it! If you’ve got it back, be grateful and move it again!

September 25, 2018

#553 – Swimming Through Life with RA

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What an honour it is to be featured on the Arthritis.ca’s Flourish – Helping You Move Through Life with Arthritis section.

See: A Mentor Among Us.

 

Challenges are a part of life, whether they be emotional, mental or physical. Sometimes all you can do is tread water and hope that some rogue wave doesn’t pull you under. Other times, you swim to distant shores, if not always easily, but with practised determination.

Swimming has been a constant for me. Little did I know that all those years I spent in the pool, prior to being diagnosed with RA at 20, would become the thing that keeps me mobile and fit. It brings me joy and allows me to move easily when my land-lubber self doesn’t always do so.

Granted, because of surgeries and the way my body has changed because of RA, I have had to modify how I do things. For example, I no longer do bilateral breathing when I swim front crawl because of my fused C-1 and C-2 joints. So, instead I use a snorkel. While I can still use my arms in the breast stroke, whip kick is ill-advised with my hip replacements and wonky ankle. Speaking of hands, I often use hand paddles which not only provide resistance, but also protect my fingers. Admittedly, it took some work to reconcile myself with the fact that I can no longer execute my swimming strokes as well as I once did. I’ve had to learn to adapt as the years flow by, which incidentally, is a strategy I use to help me age well. I do the best I can for each given day.

Just as certain as there is an ebb and flow to the tides, I will continue to swim my way through life with RA.

I have RA, it doesn’t have me!

Will I see you in the pool?

Si vous voulez lire la truduction en français, le voilà: Une mentore pour nous guider.

July 29, 2017

#529 – The Best Water Shoes

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Velcro closure on my left water shoe vs. the “struggle-to-pull-on” right water shoe.

After my last post, I’ve convinced you to go swimming. But what if you are worried about your tender tootsies and rocky or shell-crushed bottoms in the body of water you’re entering? Water shoes, often referred to as aqua socks, come to the rescue. The best ones are those that allow you to put them on and take them off with a minimum of effort and without the help of someone else.

I’ve had various models over the years, but the ones I bought last year (my left foot :)) are by far, the best ones I’ve owned. The velcro closures make all the difference. You can easily put them on and tighten them as much as you need.

Make sure they’re a tight fit, otherwise you’ll lose them once you start swimming. (I usually buy a size smaller than what I wear in regular shoes.)

If you hurry, you might be able to get a pair during the end of summer sales.

 

 

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