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Ouch, I hurt!

Many of you are in pain. It’s the pits, but you have made the right choice by giving water aerobics a try. The benefits are beyond any therapy that you have every received. The comfort, compression, massage, temperature and resistance are incredibly beneficial to your body. It’s even used for animals who need therapy.

Most of the time, when you tell me about your pain, I’m going to tell you to get in the pool. Many pains are solved just by lowering your body into the water. Some pains are movement based, so I will give you queuing to help you move safely and effectively. Hopefully, doing the movements will help relieve the pain. Years ago I read a study, that I can’t remember where I read it from, that said that “there is not one single ailment that is not improved by some sort of exercise”. The ticket to success is finding the exercise that works for you. Water aerobics works for everyone!! Young, old, strong, feeble, healthy or sick are all able to get benefits in the water.

The important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Your mind will try to convince you that the pain is bad and you shouldn’t move, but your body really does want to move. I cannot think of one single person in my 27 years of water aerobics instruction who EVER told me that they felt worse from doing water aerobics. I have heard of chlorine bothering their skin, of the sun bothering their eyes, of the cold air or water (rarely) making it hard to warm up after class, but never that their body felt worse from water exercises. Well, maybe a bit sore the day after class, but that doesn’t count because that is good pain.

Almost unanimously, I hear about the pain relief, both physical and mental. I hear about simple functional moves that have become easier; ” I can push my husbands wheelchair now”, “I can walk up stairs with less pain”, “I picked weeds and wasn’t in pain all day”. I hear about participants being able to reduce their prescription medications because their healthy numbers have increased- this includes anti-depressants as well. (Talk to your doctor before you reduce them).

Sometimes, you will feel pain in class and it’s important that we figure out why. Are you actually trying to kick your butt on the butt kicks and it’s too much for your knees? Are you hopping over the line and over contracting your back muscles? Are you reaching too far back on chest flies and aggravating your shoulders? We can usually figure these out together and then make an action plan. I will give you alternative moves to protect that joint. Most of the time, these joints improve with time. It’s important to remember that these joints didn’t usually just fall apart in a day. You wore them out. Then you hurt, so you didn’t move them for months or even years. Now, you want a miracle and while the water is darn miraculous, it will take months to rebuild that which you broke down. Be patient with yourself. Don’t feel badly that you can’t do a move that your neighbor is doing more vigorously. Put your blinders on, listen to your body and do your very best.

Finally, on those days when the pain is almost unbearable, get in the pool. You don’t have to move much to get benefits from the compression of the water on the muscles and joints. I am completely okay with you floating in the pool. I have a few people who show up and tell me that they probably can’t do anything today and to not pick on them. Before I know it, I see them moving and I know they are feeling better. That is the magic of water and you can’t feel it unless you are in it. So go get your suit on and let’s get wet!

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