Monday, June 18, 2012

Swimming For Scoliosis

Note: All opinions are entirely based on personal opinion and experience.

Back when I was 12 years old, in 1991, the doctors in UH (now known as PPUM) told me I should go swimming for my scoliosis. There was no Internet; no google, no facebook, no support group. You take what your doctors tell you as literally Godsend and do as you are told.

Mum had sent me for swimming classes since I was little. But she continued to send me for swimming classes in Bangsar until I was fifteen. A few of my close friends from school came along and we'd have fun in the water for a few hours every week. Nobody else I knew had Scoliosis, so we didn't do anything back-specific. We just swam.

About three weeks ago I had a trial class for Aqua Aerobics at The Club, Bukit Utama (near Bandar Utama). It was nothing short of amazing! The movements really "working" your upper and lower back. And don't get me started on how amazing it felt on the core. It is important to have a strong core. I intend to start regular Aqua Aerobics classes this July. The review and update on this will be for another entry.

For now, lets talk about swimming.

Going for the Aqualogix class (this is what the classes are called) reminded me of how comfortable and relaxed water has always made me feel. So I decided to incorporate swimming into my health ritual. And so my weekly health ritual would be something like this:

- Gym; cardio and strengthening exercises (including weights), three times a week (1.5 to 2.5 hours each time).
- Physiotherapy at Spinal Inc.; twice a week (two hours each time).
- Swimming; twice a week (one to two hours each time).

It has been a few weeks now and swimming has done wonders to the good ol' spine. It has helped me manage my pain better (most days are pain-free now, praise Allah!), and it has helped me strengthen my lung capacity as well. I do cardio a lot at the gym, so I was amazed at how out of breath I got after my first swimming session in years. The breathing technique we use as we swim really helps build up overall stamina, especially where lung capacity is concern.

And the buoyancy of the water! It makes a person with pain feel weightless, free and oh-so-relaxed and graceful :)

So what do you guys think? All scolis should try the water, swim or not! Walking in the water is an exercise too and oh my, what effort it takes! Have you tried walking for significant distances in the water..? The first time I tried it in the Aqualogix class (and that's why Aqua aerobics is suitable even for non-swimmers).. I couldn't believe how out of shape I felt. 

Do you guys have any water-related tips to share? :) 

With my water babies.