Sunday, October 26, 2008


Aqua Therapy exercises for maintaining PD balance

I've gone to my first and second aqua therapy sessions.

I try to get there 20 minutes before the scheduled time of my session because I never know how long it will take me to get dressed. In the men's locker room I remove my shoes and socks, unbutton and take off my shirt, slacks and underwear and then put on my swim suit. Sometimes it can take 5 minutes apiece to remove my shirt and pants; I'm still not used to that frustration but it is part of PD.

I meet up with Barb my therapist in the hall to the pool. I walk down a flight of stairs with handrails on either side and step into the pool. I always have trouble with that first step but Barb is watching out for me. If I were in a wheel chair I could use the lift to be lowered into the pool.

The first exercise is walking to the other end of the 60 foot pool and back, then walking it backwards and sideways. This is warm up. Other walking exercises follow. These are designed to improve my gait and include swinging both of my arms. It is a special lesson for my left arm.

During my first session, while walking the pool I met a group of Russian Americans. I was alarmed at first because I could not understand what was being said - now what sense am I losing? - but then I recognized one word "horses" and realized their therapist was instructing them in Russian.

Next exercise is marching from one end to another with knees stepping high like a Rockette . Good stretching. Next as I hold onto the side of the pool, I do leg lifts, right leg, left leg in all directions.

Then Barb has me step away from the side and exercise my arms against the resistance of the water. I can feel that exercise testing my balance. In another exercise I have to perform a bicycle motion with my legs as I hold onto the edge of the pool. It is the most complicated exercise. I could feel that in my shoulders which was unexpected.

There were also a couple of exercises which I've forgotten already. But they did not forget me because by the next day I could feel some aching of muscles which I had not been using.

After I had completed my exercises Barb told me I could stay in the water and walk around to continue cooling down, which I did, walking in circles in the same way that I used to cool down horses after riding.

I have Kaiser Medicare Plus, the co-pay is $10.00. I go back next week for the next two sessions.

Since the last session I found that I can wear shoes around the house. I hadn't been happy wearing even the most comfortable shoes in the last month; despite the cold, I had been barefoot, but no longer.

1 comment:

  1. It is simply wonderful how being in a swimming pool we move so much easier!I have heard others with PD say their tremors stop during swimming! Our bodies hurt, but exercise is so very important to survival...I am so glad you're experiencing positive relief!
    Hugs B'nana


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