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By Teresa Roberts
I am a strong advocate of water fitness for good reasons. It all began from personal experience. As I alluded to before, I had a horse rear up and fall backwards on top of me! I took all the weight in my pelvis area. The horse rolled to it’s side to get up, with me still underneath, which crushed my right side. The left side had severe breaks, as you can imagine, but the right side was literally crushed. I had ligaments torn from my spine. I was a mess! I had run a race the night before and won one of the largest trophies I had ever received. Within twenty four hours I was on my back struggling to live, not knowing if I would walk again. Is life unpredictable or what??
We opted for traction as opposed to surgery because of issues with my sciatic nerve. This meant thirty days flat on my back with a steel rod through the bone in my right leg just below the knee. This was so they could gradually add weight up to thirty pounds on my right leg to try to pull down the hip as it was healing. I was sent home in a wheelchair and not a lot of encouragement.
After realizing the medical profession was very limited in what they could do for me, I cried out to the One who knows no limitations. I prayed. I asked God to reveal His will to me, knowing if He chose for me to be in a wheelchair, He would give me the grace to be there. But if it wasn’t His will for me to be there, I was coming out! I felt I heard Him saying “My people have to live by faith.” That was a simple statement, but it had profound implications. That day I began to pray and ask the Lord to be by physical therapist, and show me what to do. Knowing He formed me, I figured He could fix me.
I knew nothing about the elements of water and rehabilitation, but the Lord did. We had a spring fed pond with a sandy bottom near our home. The children and I spent many happy summer days there swimming and swinging off a rope tied to a limb over the water. The doctor had said I couldn’t put weight on either leg. Knowing I was unable to fly, water was the only place I could have mobility and be weightless. I convinced my youngest son, Stephen, to push me in my wheelchair to the pond. We retrieved a walker, also. He pushed me as far as he could in the water and handed me the walker. By this time I was deep enough to be weightless and began the mobility of my legs. That is how my rehabilitation began. I spent what was left of the summer working hard and getting strong. To make a long story short…I had returned home from the hospital August, twenty-fourth. I shuffled a 10K race (6.2miles) in Asheboro the first Saturday in October! I could never have healed so quickly and gotten the amazing results without God’s grace and guidance to “come to the water.”
I have always enjoyed water, but I had no idea how it could be used for rehabilitation until my own personal experience. Water is a fun, relaxing, way to stay fit. It is an enjoyable alternative that produces a feeling of rejuvenation. Hydrostatic pressure, which is only available in water, exerts a multidimensional pressure around the body, which is greater than air pressure, and it is equal on all sides. This pressure contributes to the well being of joints throughout your workout. It also acts as an auxiliary heart pump which increases circulation causing the blood to be massaged back to the heart. Water also decreases swelling and offsets the tendency of blood pooling in extremities. While supporting the joints, it allows us to safely increase our range of motion. The hydrostatic pressure of the water allows the joints to open up and feel good rather than fight gravity’s daily wear and tear. Water provides a security that relieves fear of falling and breaking bones or injuring oneself. Water is a great place to improve posture with a subjective feeling of lightness and support. Weight bearing levels may easily be varied so movement may be applied to turn a painful activity into a pleasurable one. Ask me how I know?
These reasons and my own personal experience is why I am such a water enthusiast. As a result, I became a certified Water Rehabilitation Specialist and certified WaterArt Instructor as well as offering personal training in the water. I strive to meet people where they are, and bring them to a higher level of fitness and healing. Personal training sessions are available by appointment. The cost is $40.00 an hour with Masterpiece Fitness. I am now able to contract out with Carroll Wellness for use of their fabulous therapy pool and able to offer water rehabilitation as well as some personal training for folks who are struggling with tight muscles and a lack of mobility. I am experiencing tremendous success with present clients. Again, contact me with questions or to make appointments. I also offer personal training in the water with Galax Parks and Recreation. It is a non-threatening environment with many different levels of fitness. I extend an invitation to everyone to “come to the water” for fun and fitness!
Teresa Roberts is owner of Masterpiece Fitness, and a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, WaterArt Instructor, Water Rehabilitation Specialist, Sports Conditioning Specialist, and Cancer Exercise Specialist. Please check out her website @ masterpiecefitness.com. Find Masterpiece Fitness on Facebook. For questions, comments, or appointments, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 276-236-8748, (cell) 276-237-6680.