“I can’t begin to describe the difference this has made to my life!”
Ann, 63, from Flixton in Urmston, attributes swimming to helping to get her life back. Ann explains: “Four years ago I took early retirement from my job with Unilever as a Technical Operator. I really wanted to make the most of my retirement and I went on a fantastic trip to India. However, as I Read More
Ann, 63, from Flixton in Urmston, attributes swimming to helping to get her life back. Ann explains: “Four years ago I took early retirement from my job with Unilever as a Technical Operator. I really wanted to make the most of my retirement and I went on a fantastic trip to India. However, as I was making more exciting plans, my health quickly deteriorated with a degenerative disc disease.”
Ann’s heath has impacted her mobility, leaving her in constant pain. She has to walk with two sticks and is bent over. She says: “The disease is with me every second of the day. I had planned an active and fulfilling retirement, but instead I was virtually homebound and very dependent on my son and his partner who I live with.”
Over the years, Ann was given exercises by the physiotherapists, but it didn’t seem to help and the therapy seemed to cause more pain and damage. It was then that the physiotherapists suggested she should try swimming and exercising in a pool.
Ann says: “I’m very determined and I want to live my life and enjoy my retirement, so I knew that I had to try. I bought a Trafford Leisure membership as I knew this would make me commit to attending regularly and to not give up. Just going to the leisure centre was a big step for me. I took it very slowly and for the first two months I would simply stand upright in the water and try some very gentle movements of my legs. To begin it was terrifying, as my legs felt as if they had no strength. They would float up as if they were paralysed. However, I persisted. It has been a long and slow process, but I now come to the wonderful facilities at move Urmston five times a week. I can’t begin to describe the difference this has made to my life.
“It took five months and I had to grit my teeth and cross pain barriers, but the exercises in the pool became easier and I started to swim – I can now swim lengths. When I get in the water there is an immediate relief in my pain. I stand straighter and stronger. Being in the pool has reactivated the muscles in my body. I swim breast stroke, and although a lot of the power still comes from my arms, I now use both legs too. Going to the pool and getting out of the house has been great for my mental health too and it’s nice to chat to other regular pool users. Last yearnI was in a very dark place, but swimming has made life much more bearable.”
Ann also has arthritis in her hips and is on the waiting list for a double hip replacement. Her consultant is extremely impressed by Ann’s progress. Ann explains: “My doctor believes my swimming will mean I am in the best health I can be before surgery. He has also explained to me that I will recover quicker from surgery and that swimming can be used as part of my active recovery too.
“After my surgery, I might use the fantastic Pool Pod at move Urmston to help me into the water. I think it’s fantastic that this facility is available to people who struggle with mobility. All the staff at move Urmston are extremely helpful and friendly, and they go out of their way to support me.
“I would recommend swimming or physical activity in the pool to anyone with mobility issues, such as arthritis. It’s not a magic cure or a quick fix, but with patience and determination, water can really help. I feel much happier, much more confident, in less pain, I’m more upright, and I feel more stable on my feet too. I’m so proud of my transformation.”