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Topic Swimming helped to "Un-Freeze" Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By Knoosy On 2013.10.04 20:05
I would love to share something else that seemed to work wonders.

We recently went on a vacation near a beach. The hotel had a good size swimming pool. I like to be active and work out whereas my PD Love prefers just to exercise his brains.
I decided to do an experiment with him and he was all game with a little bit of resistance at first, but after he realized what it did for him, I didn't even have to use pep-talk to get him to participate. :)

He takes sinemet when he wakes up first thing in the morning and then every three hours thereafter. He usually starts to drop in his movements after two hours, sometimes even sooner. Then he would just sit and wait until his next dose by which time he is often completely frozen.

On our vacation, I made us go to the pool after breakfast and swim!! He was very reluctant at first and often frozen by 10am when we got to the pool. He wanted to lie on the lounge chair, but I gently pulled him up and helped him inside the swimming pool. One side was 6 to 7 feet deep and the other side, where he got in was for kids and people who wanted to play in up to 5 feet deep water. There was also a guard right by the pool, so he was really safe. He is quite out of shape because as I mentioned before, he's a very smart man who rather uses his brains than his body....
I had to act like an activities animator, cheering him on and negotiating with him on the number of laps to swim....And amazingly, as soon as he got in the water, he was able to swim even though he was already freezing outside the water.

We were there for nine days and I had us go to the pool every day. The weather was awesome and he cooperated beautifully after a few days and was actually able to swim more and more laps back and forth without breathing heavily like at first.
He un-froze every time he was in the pool. Maybe he felt relaxed, enjoyed the ease of movement and the safety in the water where he could not fall and hurt himself.

He also looked better every day and got a nice tan. After the vacation he saw his general physician who hugged him for how great he looked.

After a few days we started to leave the walker at home and once he walked alone on the beach for several miles so that he had to take a taxi back to the hotel :). I took pictures of him swimming and EVEN jogging on the beach which his neurologist won't believe....but the proof is in the pics.

Back home, he started freezing more again. I'm doing my best to get him to go to physical therapy and to work out, but swimming seems to be very effective and amazing for PD, at least in his case.
There is no swimming pool nearby where we live, but I wanted to share this experience with you in case you have a chance to try this with your loved one.

Peace & Love.

By lilflower On 2013.10.04 21:17
Thanks for sharing, my PD hubby and I have been talking about a swim spa that we had seen. I think water therapy is great. My hubby only walks a few steps at a time with a walker. He is in his power chair most of the time. Being able to swim and get the weight off his legs would help with circulation problems from sitting all the time. I think we have to start saving.

By Knoosy On 2013.10.05 12:42
Is there any public swimming pool you and your hubby could go to? Maybe you don't have to spend a lot of money to benefit from water therapy. I found out that there is a YMCA pool close to where we live and we might check that out.

I think swimming or walking in water a couple times a week would be great. It's good exercise and people with PD may feel save exercising in the water because they can't fall. It can also help relax them and their muscles. Depending on their PD level, they can do this with or without assistance. And the caregivers could benefit from swimming, too.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.10.05 13:33
I'm a person with Parkinson's disease and I know I'd be stressing I would fall or freeze and then drowned. Maybe that's what you're seeing in the water more concentration because of that fear?

By Knoosy On 2013.10.05 19:40

That's why it is good to have someone with you if you have that fear. My friend freezes a lot and unpredictably and still was not afraid in the water. I was always nearby and kept and eye on him and there was a life guard watching as well.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.10.05 23:56
Knoosy, It is not good it is necessary and imperative to have someone there. What works for one doesn't mean it will work for another. Also there is also a placebo effect in exercise too, that's why riding a bike or swimming have been bantered about for these last twenty to twenty five years in forums and online. Yes We need exercise and yes it really helps Us in the long run. But no one exercise has been proven to delay or reverse P.D. not one. Your suggestion to try the local YMCA is a good one as a pool might not benefit someone depending on how far Their disease has advanced or how it presents itself in the person and how much time the Caregiver can devote to another task of being there in the pool beside the patient as they swim. You're right try the Y before spending money for something that might help or might not ending up with a pool installed never used as planned and reminding you every day.

It so depends upon the Person with Parkinson's as to the safety of something. Several years ago My co-worker and friend with Parkinson's and I used to go fishing (sometimes in his boat) one day I said hey I wonder if our Doc fishes? (We have the same Neurologist). My Friend answered I don't know why? I suggested We ask Him if he wanted to go (I'm in my 28th year as His patient my friend is in his 29th year) it's not like we haven't built up a relationship with the guy. So next appointment I asked Him ...The Doc with You and who? I repeated my friends name...The Doc's response was tell him I don't want him in a boat or even near the water! If he fell in He'd drowned! The way he freezes and with his dystonia! Of course my reply was Doc it's kind of hard to fish if You're not by the water. So either because of the way His disease presented itself and his symptoms the Doc wanted to keep him away from the water and I was okay to be near it or on it. Or our Neurologist likes Him better and was trying to get rid of me? (I prefer to think it is the first one! Thank you very much) But as with every thing We try be sure to RUN IT BY THE DOCTOR FIRST! Btw We still went fishing (until My friend became confined to his wheelchair) Take care, best of luck and hang in there

By parkinit On 2013.10.06 11:35
Exercise is always good, however in the pool is dangerous and one should always have a lifeguard nearby as well as always an assistant for the one with PD.

We did pool exercises for a few years, but the last time we did this (several summers ago), my spouse became so anxious and afraid he would drown (we entered with a lifejacket), that we had to stop. I can't say his results were as miraculous as Knoosy's. We were doing it for the low resistance and the ease of balance in a pool versus on land. I did not see improvement with his PD, as he would begin to freeze up in the pool and yet another fear - freezing in the pool and how would I get him out? We were exercising in our own pool - never over chest high.

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