Posts tagged ‘swimming’

September 25, 2018

#553 – Swimming Through Life with RA

MariannaPaulsonShallowEnd340

 

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

aquasocks.jpg

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.

 

 

July 24, 2017

#528 – What to Do at the Beach When You Have RA #1

LoonLake

You know I’m going to say it, don’t you? The most obvious thing, for me, and hopefully for you, too, is to swim.

If you haven’t started swimming, I enthusiastically encourage you to start. Swimming is an excellent, comprehensive form of exercise, regardless of whether you have RA or not!

When I first began swimming in earnest at the age of 14, by enrolling in a competitive swim club, little did I know that this would be the one exercise that has carried me through the decades of flares, surgeries and pain.

When you are so sore and stiff and feel less than fluid in your movements, the weightless you experience in the water gives you back that all-important sensation of mobility. If your reason for not going in the water is because you are cold, pick up the pace and focus on the exercises and movements, as opposed to how cold you feel. You’ll soon warm up. Dependent upon your degree of comfort and skills in the water, you can work on endurance, flexibility, mobility, range of motion and strength. Don’t forget to simply float at the end and rejoice in that feeling of letting-go.

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March 22, 2013

#435 – What’s in the Bag?

shampposcreamrinsesoapOn It’s in the Bag, I told you about a time-saving security tip I use at the pool.

Now, some of you curious types might be wondering what I have in that bag.

If you really want to know – my ear plugs, goggles, bathing cap, scalp massager, scrub puff, liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Since I don’t take my glasses out to the pool deck, I have trouble reading small print. I’ve devised a system that ensures I use the correct product in the right order, in the right place.

I write a giant S on the mini shampoo bottle, and a C on the conditioner bottle. I’ve further refined this by changing to two different shapes of bottles. As a result, I don’t even have to look when I reach my hand into the bag. I know which one is which, simply by feeling the shape of the bottle.

Systems work. Systems keep your life organized. Systems save time and energy. A bonus for anyone living with a chronic illness.

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