As we begin the new year, many of us will make a pledge to get more fit this year. As we heard from our PT specialist anyone with MS needs enter into an exercise routine with the supervision of a trained professional. With that said I would like to share my experience this summer with adapted aquatics.
This past summer I was able to experience a unique opportunity of an adapted aquatics class at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. As Swim for MS is a major part of MSAA’s work to enhance the quality of life of everyone affected by MS, and adapted aquatics is often a go-to complimentary wellness option for individuals those living with the MS, I was asked to take part in a local adapted aquatics class at Shepherd Center. Throughout my career, I’ve often recommended aquatic exercise for anyone looking for an exercise or social activity, but ironically I had never taken part in it myself. So on a weekday morning in mid-August, I jumped into the pool with five MS patients and got to work on some really fun and useful exercise techniques.
The class I participated in was for those considered “ambulatory patients” while a separate class for non-ambulatory patients was offered afterward. With adapted aquatics, everyone gets an opportunity in the pool!
The class began with standard stretching, and then leg strides from one end of the pool to the other, on the shallow end of course. During these initial exercises, I was able to get to know some of my fellow classmates and learn a little bit about how they were diagnosed and just what their day–to-day experiences with MS are like.
The class then picked up as we began to use underwater step-stools to exercise our leg muscles, while also utilizing balance techniques, this last exercise was one of the more challenging! . This was the point where I struggled the most. Finally, in the third portion of the class, we used water weights to exercise both our triceps and biceps. It was neat to see how water actually creates greater tension when using the weights than the fairly weightless pieces of equipment create on their own. All the while, I was making great friends of my classmates, talking to them about MSAA and some of our services and helping encourage them at any point of struggle. The look of sheer accomplishment on each class member’s face when they were able to get through an exercise they felt difficult was really inspiring!
In all, this was quite the eye opening experience. The value of these kinds of resources are incalculable. If you happen to live near an area with an MS-specific aquatic exercise class, please make sure you take advantage of it! Beyond just the wellness quotient, you get a chance to make some really good friendships as well!
For more information about aquatic exercise in your area, call contact our Client Services Department at(800)-532-7667, extension 154 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.