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Best and safest exercise for brain injury…brain dysfunction and all other areas of health

21 Jan

Are you having difficulty standing?  Is your balance off and you fall often?  Are you dizzy?  Or are you simply too tired or fatigue? Do your joints ache? Do you think you have had a traumatic brain injury but not sure?  Have you been diagnosed with a brain injury or medical condition? Are you a hero that has fought for our country?  Are you a disabled American Veteran?

Children in aquatic therapy

Exercise is always important, but now it can be fun!  You can do this and relax all your muscles at the same time.  Check with your physician, physical therapist or nurse before attempting any form of exercise.   After the initial injury and rehabilitation are completed you must return to whatever level of functioning you can.  Your optimal or highest level of physical functioning can be achieved with water exercise.  This is also a good stress reliever.

You may not even have the strength to stand yet, but with assistance this may give you hope once again.  Make sure you have a partner to do these exercises.  Find a warm water pool in your area.  Warm water is usually considered about 92 degrees.  If it is not warm and you can tolerate the cooler water…get in and you will surprise yourself.

You will finally feel the freedom of bodily movement that you have not been able to do outside the water.  Please use a safety float waist belt, even if no one else in the pool is using one.  Do not worry about what other people think.  A safety float waist belt or life preserver keeps you safe.  Make sure you have a partner to enter the pool with you.  It is always better to have an exercise partner, but never enter a pool or pool area alone.  Your life is important and your partner will enjoy the exercise and experience of the water as well.

Many warm water pools have wide stairs and rails as well as safety rails along the edge of the pool to hold on to as you increase your exercise.  You can probably do every exercise imaginable in the water.  The water helps with balance.  You will want to find a quieter time in the pool.  Check with the staff and find out when their quiet times are. Some insurance companies and rehabilitation programs help with this cost.  Most facilities usually run around $55.00-$75.00 per month on average in 2012 to belong to the entire fitness club, or smaller fees to exercise in the warm water pool.  There are very limited physical therapy programs that include warm water aquatics, but I hope this will be a trend in the right direction for communities to expand these services with so many traumatic brain injuries and those with health conditions that limit physical activity otherwise.  I would propose that every single community should have warm water aquatics to accommodate their citizens.  If this happened we would all be healthier people and need less healthcare interventions.

Gear: All the swimwear can be found in Men’s, Women’s and Children’s sizes.

Aquatic shoes

I found earlier on that using aquatic shoes work best with the balance issue in the water.  They also prevent slipping around the pool and in the shower.  Wear them from your locker, in the shower, into the pool and do not remove until you are completely done showering and ready to sit and dry and put another pair of shoes on.  They help with safety.  No one wants to slip and fall.  I highly recommend aquatic shoes, but it is okay if you cannot get them.  You can search on the internet for aquatic shoes and there is quite an assortment.

Aquatic shoes

If you can not get the shoes, do not worry and get in the water without them.  You will be okay.

Swim shorts

There is also an assortment of chlorine resistant swimwear that holds up well in pools. My chlorine resistant swimwear lasts over one year, without stretching, fading, and showing wear and tear.  The initial investment is higher than other suits, but I use the same one and work out 4-5 days a week.  If you can not make the investment any swimwear will work.  Just make sure it fits and you feel good in it.

Neoprene or Chlorine resistant aquatic jackets.

If you are uncomfortable with exposing your body for whatever reason you have, I understand.  Do not let that keep you from entering the water.  If you need to wear a t-shirt and shorts and that is what you are comfortable in…do that!

Swim tights

Just be comfortable with yourself.  Reminder few people have perfect bodies!

Many fitness clubs, health facilities, recreation centers, YMCA, and various other community fitness centers have these warm water pools or at least a pool of some sort.

Watch the other people and see how they use the facilities.  I know they give you a tour when you first enter, but do not expect to remember all that information.  You learn by experience. Most of us are visual learners so watch other people.  Ask questions.  People around you will be happy to help you out.

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Some of these pool areas offer clean towels and spinners to wring out wet swimwear.  These are ideal situations.  If not pack yourself a towel and plastic bag for your wet swimwear.  This prevents you from using all the energy of cleaning your own towels, dragging the towels back and forth or wringing out your swimwear.  No one realizes how much energy is expended doing these things until you do not have the energy to waste.

I suggest to wear your swimwear under your street clothing.  It is quick to get into the pool.  If you forgot to pack your underwear to wear home….don’t sweat the small stuff!  Ask yourself, how important is it in a long run? Who knows anyway, but you!  Just put your clothes on and go home …you’ll feel so much better just exercising. We are not living the perfect life, and few are anyway. We just want to live our best life!

Suggestion:  For your next birthday  or holiday ask for aquatic swimwear or gear or a membership to help you with your self rehabilitation.  Use your gift cards for the gear. If someone wants to know how they can help ask them to drive you or do a water exercise with you.  You’ll both enjoy the fun and fitness and the physical freedom of movement you can not feel on land.

 

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2 responses to “Best and safest exercise for brain injury…brain dysfunction and all other areas of health

  1. katydid

    January 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Boy do I miss my swimming pool exercise. I’m fortunate enough to live in a warm weather climate, and have a pool in my backyard. But 62 degrees is way too cold for me. (looking into a pool heater) My week has been very stressful for me and I’m really feeling the ramifications of it. My brain is maxed out and I’m experiencing blocks in my memory. I try to hold a conversation and I’m constantly searching for words to express myself. The beauty of pool therapy, which is most helpful to me is the stress relief. I thrive on it. Secondary benefits to me is a feeling that my whole body is relaxed when I come out of the pool. Excercise is a good thing! I encourage everyone to try it and experience the results. After all, stress seems to be a part of our lives and we need to find relief.

     
  2. Kimberly Flickinger (@kaflickinger74)

    January 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    As a traumatic brain injury survivor who suffers from chronic pain, I have found warm water exercise to be very therapeutic and the only way I can exercise without experiencing pain afterwards.

     

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