MS and Water Therapy
by: Kara Friesen
Water therapy is something that both MS and non-MS patients can participate in – and you don’t even have to be a swimmer! Many communities offer aquatic classes that focus more on stretching and balancing, as opposed to actual swimming. Check your local aquatic center to see what they offer!
Exercise can sometimes be a challenge to those of us with Multiple Sclerosis — I have my hand up over here! Exercise is hard! Sometimes I feel like I get enough exercise just talking to my 5 year old all day.
Many people with MS find that water therapy is the easiest and most rewarding way to stay physically active. The buoyancy of water helps to support weak limbs, making them feel lighter. Water also provides resistance, which helps to strengthen muscles. People with MS may find it easier to stand in the water than on dry land, and there’s also a lower risk of injury due to a fall. (Click here to read the full article on healthline.com)
I feel like a different person when I’m in the water. Since there’s less weight on your body when you’re in the water, I feel like I have a much larger range of motion. I also deal with a lot of leg pain and weakness which is greatly alleviated and easier to deal with when I’m swimming.
According to the National MS Society, aquatic exercise can improve overall function (including mobility, walking, flexibility, and balance), improve your mood, and even provide a form of social networking, by staying involved with a class and getting support from others. (See the full article, here)
If you have limited mobility, ask your chapter what local pools have lifts to get you in and out of the water. If you don’t have a recreation center nearby, try asking local motel owners if you could use their pools — the worst they can say is no! If you practice your swimming in the ocean, be careful with waves and undertow, and make sure a lifeguard is on duty.
Maybe it’s time to hit the pool this summer! If anything else, it will help for those of us with serious heat intolerance! (Even the splash park at my local library helps for that, and it’s fun!)
All the best guys,