Posts tagged ‘swimming’

July 24, 2017

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


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.

August 5, 2012

#321 – Sidestroke and Back Stroke

As a former competitive swimmer, swimming instructor and lifeguard, I know how to do all the swimming strokes, plus some synchronized swimming moves and diving—off the diving board, that is.

As time marched on, I’ve had to contend with that monster – the ego. I know it’s surfaced when I catch myself saying things like “I could dive before,” or “I was able to do a half-decent butterfly stroke,” or “They must think I can’t swim very well.”

By being able to recognize that strident voice, I am able to redirect it; it’s now softer, kinder and more compassionate. It’s led me to acceptance. It’s rewarding myself for what I can still do, even with arms, legs and a neck that don’t work the way they once did.

The breast stroke is definitely off the “Lengths List” because of the torque that occurs when doing the Whip Kick. The front crawl is a sometimes stroke – at times, bilateral breathing is challenging on my fused neck. The back stroke is pretty easy to do, as is the sidestroke.

When swimming, or doing any exercise, listen to what your body tells you. Sometimes, your brain may be nagging you to quit, when there is no reason for it. Other times, your ego may push you further than is wise and you pay the price. One of our lessons is to learn to decipher the difference.

July 2, 2012

Wheel-y Easy

If I carry my swim bag over my shoulder, it puts a strain on the shoulder joint. Holding it in my hand isn’t much better. If you’re wondering why my swim bag is so heavy, it’s because of the added weight of my pool shoes.

When a friend offered me her son’s old wheeled backpack, I gladly accepted it.

It’s so much easier to wheel my swim bag from the car, into the facility and to the change room.

Fortunately, we rarely see snow out here on the West Coast, so I don’t need to make a switch to “winter tires”! 🙂

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