Well, my doctor and the orthopedic surgeon both recommended swimming as exercise for someone awaiting hip surgery. But I didn't really want to do it. The thought of driving to a pool, changing, getting in and exercising, then showering, drying off - I mean 30 minutes of exercise would actually end up taking an hour and a half. I much prefer to put on the running shoes, clip on the dog leash and head out the door.
Only that doesn't work anymore. Gone are the 2-3 mile walks with Teddy, as I just can't do the distance anymore. The hip joint has deteriorated to the point that walking more than a few blocks is simply too painful.
Last week, I ran into one of my daughter's teachers from school and I know she has arthritis in many joints. So I decided to ask her about it when I spotted her at the grocery store. She has had both a shoulder and a knee replaced and she credits aquacise with her rapid recovery. She convinced me that the point is to strengthen the muscles which support the joint and that helps both before and after surgery.
I took her advice. Yesterday I bought a swim suit and this morning, I took myself to the local pool. Not the pool at the university, but the one in the north end of town that would most likely draw women from working class backgrounds. Good choice, there's no sense in feeling out of place when doing something you're not crazy about.
I found myself with 16 women, and one man, most of whom seemed to have already had knee or hip replacements or were there due to the effects of arthritis. One woman said she has been coming faithfully for four years and no longer takes pain meds for her knees. She still has the same knees but she no longer takes tylenol for arthritis and she has put away her cane.
It is surprising how easy it is to be flexible in the water, when you have next to no flexibility on land. This afternoon I feel achey and the hip is particularly bad, but who knows - perhaps this may change with the exercise. Anyway, I am willing to give it a try.
The only downside was that I somehow lost my watch. No matter, I was going to buy a new one because the wrist strap had stretched beyond redemption, but felt that it was wasteful to buy a new one when the old one was still keeping good time. Tomorrow I will fix that.