Wednesday, January 28, 2015

i signed up for a swim class. now what?

i'm always upfront with folks when i say i don't like being unnecessarily wet or dirty. this is one of the main reasons why i'm not interested in taking up swimming as a sport or hobby. just not my thing. but after meeting with the spine doctor/specialist a couple weeks ago, he mentioned swimming as the first (and only) exercise for people with disc issues like me (while in recovery, anyway). i've progressed enough in physical therapy where i am "allowed" to walk on the treadmill now, but let's be honest: if running on a treadmill makes me want to poke my eyeballs out, walking on a treadmill has me gouging them out with a rusty spoon (just kidding, that was pretty graphic).

i happened to find a therapeutic water exercise class (yes, that is what it is called) being offered during the winter. it promised to relieve pain and stiffness in an enjoyable pool environment of 84-92 degrees. isn't that bathtub water? the class is designed for adults recovering from an injury or in need of a gentle form of exercise. i happen to fall into both of those categories. after discussing with my physical therapist (who enthusiastically told me i should sign up right away), i registered for the 8 week long class. 

i don't even have a real swim suit! but heaven knows i am in need of some sort of exercise to help me feel like i'm doing something. while i'm sure there will be plenty of physical benefits to this swim class, i think the mental health benefits might be what i need more.

the first class was last week and it went a lot better than expected. yes, it felt like swimming in bath water. yes, i was the youngest person in the class. and yes, i didn't like being wet. BUT my body felt so light and free in the water; it was the best feeling i've had physically since the injury. i started off the class using a weighted water belt, but it pulled on my back and hurt quite a bit. after taking that off though, i went into full on fish mode. the majority of the class takes place in the deep end where we do some sort of water movement for a song's length and then there's a minute high intensity push in between each song of some repetitious movement designed to have more resistance against the water.

needless to say, it was more of a workout than i had bargained for, but i mean that in the best way possible. when it was time to get out of the water, i didn't want to leave (mostly because it was cold outside of the water) but also because the second i stepped out, i immediately felt the pull of gravity on my back again and remembered how much pain and discomfort i have been in. can't believe i've been living with this strain since may!

all in all, i'm glad i signed up for the class and i'm looking forward to continuing my water therapy. bonus perk? the instructor is a marathoner so we have lots in common to talk about :)

anyone else out there take swim classes or pool classes to heal an injury? would love to hear about others' experiences! 


  1. I haven't taken a class but it sounds like it might help me too. I'd love to be in water that warm! I have the same swimsuit issue too!

  2. like i think i mentioned when we all met up last month, i broke my foot after my first half, and swam the following summer as my sole form of exercise. it was GREAT -- the only thing that kept up my physical fitness. it was also nice because it was the summer, and i was out at a pool.

    And two summer's ago, I gave myself terrible shin splints (maybe even a stress fracture? who knows), and then I did aqua-jogging/water running, which i kind of hated, but it felt like running so i liked that.


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